Academic and Professional Programmes Postgraduate Module Assessment Board
Wednesday 22nd July 2015
1. To enhance skills, knowledge and understanding about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in a climate of change.
2. To employ a practice-based approach to professional development which will improve outcomes and real-life chances for children, young people and adults with SEN and disabilities in education, training or employment.
3. To add capacity to professional potential in mainstream and special school settings, Further Education (FE), Higher Education (HE) and adult learning environments.
At the end of the programme students will have:
Critically engaged with policy and practice and demonstrated informed perspectives about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in educational settings.
Interrogated, examined and applied a range of theoretical ideas and frameworks for thinking conceptually about the process of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in different contexts.
Developed key knowledge, understanding and skills in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Identified approaches to promote and evaluate impact, influence and outcomes.
Knowledge and Understanding
Critically engaged with theoretical frameworks and literature;
Harnessed insights into subject knowledge;
Critically reflected on the ways in which research methodology supports professional enquiry;
Applied critical considerations when undertaking research;
Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.
Written to academic standards required at level 7; Engaged in meaningful debate and critical discussion; Read critically; Synthesised written and oral information; Maintained a learning journal where appropriate.
Application of Number
Selected and used appropriate research methodology, methods and applications for data handling.
Information Literacy and Technology
Used the University's VLE to access information; Used electronic research skills; Accessed databases for research and information; Used the University's e-Portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal where appropriate.
Improving own learning and performance
Critically reflected on professional practice; Developed new pedagogical and leadership skills; Used initiative and managed own learning; Made independent use of supervision.
Working with others
Engaged in group presentations and disseminations; Worked with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice.
Generated and applied new knowledge; Analysed complex concepts.
Transferable Professional SkillsThe qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.
The MA Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is designed primarily for professionals working in all types of educational settings, who have an interest in, or a responsibility for, SEND, as well as those working in special schools and settings including early years. Its scope also embraces professionals who are working in Further Education (FE), Higher Education (HE) and adult settings with individuals who have special needs or disabilities. It will also be of interest to professionals in Children's Services, Children's Centres and social service provision.
The Programme has Postgraduate Certificates (PG Cert) and a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) as exit points that facilitate continuing professional development at different stages of a professional career. Students may exit with credit for single modules. Modules are at 20 Credit Accumulation Transfer (CAT) points and 10 European Credit Transfer (ECT) points and 40 Credit Accumulation Transfer (CAT) points and 20 European Credit Transfer.
Students have three years to complete a PG Cert, five years for a PG Dip and six years to complete an MA, but experience of other Master’s degrees within the Department indicates that students usually complete the MA within three years part time. Full time students will complete the MA within 15 months. The programme of study is designed along straightforward structural lines and is intended to maximise the freedom of individual students to pursue their own lines of in-depth investigation. The Programme is underpinned by the relationship between theory and practice, enabling students to combine critical enquiry with SEND practice. Integral to this Programme is the opportunity for a range of professionals to collaborate, articulate and debate their SEND practice leading to new insights and furthering individual lines of enquiry.
Stage/Year 1&2.The modules are consecutive within Stage 1 of the Programme and follow a linear structure, enabling students to build upon previous learning as they move through the Programme.
The modules are organised as sets of three, each set following a theme reflecting professional context and individual interests. Students usually choose to follow one theme for each year of study.
The themes are:
(1) Leadership and Management;
(2) Learning and Teaching;
(3) Advanced Practice, Multi-sensory impairment;
(4) FE/HE Adult.
Stage/Year 3 of the Programme is the culmination of the Master's Programme, enabling students to give focus to their professional practice through an extended research project. It brings together strategies of research and critical thinking to facilitate an advanced theoretical and professional understanding of contemporary SEND practice.
Full-time delivery sees a number of modules running consecutively; this is achievable through the combined weekend delivery pattern of the part-time model and mid-week delivery. This enables full-time students to work alongside their part -time peers encouraging an interrogation of personal and peer practice and to work with fulltime students from Health and Arts and Media. As Stage 2 of the Programme is predominately enquiry based, this means that this can be delivered via tutorials if needed to cater for a small number of full-time students. The extended research project will be launched in the spring, providing full-time students with up to 5 months to complete this for a September completion date or 9 months for a December completion date, negotiated with the student.
Theme 1: Leadership and Management with the National Award for SEN Co- ordination.
These modules are embedded with the learning outcomes for the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination.
CD7701: Professional Knowledge and Understanding offers a broad introduction to the theoretical framework for thinking about SEN and Disabilities including cultural, political and social perspectives.
CD7702: Leading and Managing Provision explores person-centred practice and examines systems and structures which support strategic and operational provision.
CD7703: Developing a Positive Ethos and Culture considers how the voices of children, young people and adults can inform practice and provision and emphasises the need for working within cultural, social and familial constructs.
Theme 2: Learning and Teaching in Mainstream Contexts
These modules are designed to provide participants with an informed understanding of a range of aspects of SEN in order to challenge orthodoxy, strengthen knowledge and deepen conceptual understanding.
CD7704: Evaluating Specific Learning Difficulties re-examines Specific Learning Difficulties and considers the required educational response informed by evidence-based practice in neuro science.
CD7705: Reimagining Special Educational Needs Beyond Labels offers a space to problemitise concepts of SEN and encourages thinking about the individual and his or her experience rather than the label or condition. It updates knowledge to support the construction of a pedagogy free from determinist beliefs about ability and reflects on contemporary approaches including the use of technology enhanced learning to support individual needs.
CD7718: International Perspectives of Special Education evaluates and critically reflects upon the international historical perspective of education of learners with special needs, analyzing the factors that impact on special education internationally. Identifying and evaluating global trends in special education comparative data in professional contests, assessing the latest international, regional, and local research into inclusive education.
Theme 3: Advanced Practice Multi- sensory Impairments (SLD/PMLD)
These modules will be of interest and relevance to those employed in special schools and settings working with children, young people and adults with severe, profound and/or complex needs. As with all modules, each can be taken as a stand- alone in combination with any others but collectively these modules provide comprehensive coverage of the advanced and specialist knowledge, skills and understanding.
CD7707: Advanced Practice in Speech Language and Communication Needs explores language characteristics, learning styles and development of a communication environment and interaction styles and considers key strategies to enhance communication including language learning style, communication system, alternative or additional ways of communicating.
CD7708: Severe and Profound Cognitive Difficulties in Contemporary Practice examines aspects of provision such as curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, resources, therapy, organisation (room management / responsive environment) and multi-professional collaboration. It considers how assistive technologies can enhance communication or mobility.
CD7032: Practitioner Enquiry Interrogates practice to discover new questions for enquiry. It explores these questions in a professional context including examining ethics, methodology and critical reflection. These are then carried out in a personal enquiry with the findings outlined in a research report.
Theme 4: Further and Higher Education and Adult Contexts
These modules will be of interest to those working in FE, HE and Adult contexts including those supporting young people and adults in transition to independent living or employment.
CD7710: Aspects and Impact of Neurodiversity in Education, Training and Employment considers Specific Learning Difficulties from a Post16 perspective and the legislative framework for disability including the nine protected areas of employment.
CD7711: Adapting to Specific Needs in Education, Training and Employment examines the ways in which barriers to participation can be removed and offers an opportunity for students to engage with a new theoretical framework through which to respond to disability issues with a considered, legitimate rationale.
CD7712: Enabling Access to Education, Training and Employment, considers how prevailing negative attitudes to disabled people in training and the workplace create significant barriers to equity, inclusion and participation and challenge concepts of adulthood, independence and human rights.
Theme 5: Behaviour
These modules will be of interest and relevance to those working with children, young people and adults with an interest in behavioural approaches to teaching and learning. As with all modules, each can be taken as a stand- alone in combination with any others but collectively these three modules provide comprehensive coverage of the advanced and specialist knowledge, skills and understanding.
CD7706: Emotions and Attachment in Learning Relationships offers an opportunity to look beyond the orthodoxy of a behaviourist response to children, young people and adults who cannot conform and considers theories of behaviour from a pyscho-social perspective. It considers separation and attachment, emotional development and the impact of trauma and neglect.
CD7709: Complex Behaviour Difficulties: Theory and Practice considers those children, young people and adults who display complex and challenging behaviours through a consideration of the whole-school, the setting or organisational. It evaluates interventions, and takes an overview of well-being and mental health, support beyond the work setting and working with parents and carers.
CD7714:Advanced Practice in Leading and Managing Behavioural Approaches to Teaching and Learning reflects upon behaviour management and intervention strategies used in educational contexts. It analyses the factors that impact on mentoring and coaching techniques when supporting a team and evaluates both assessment and data collection techniques when supporting intervention strategies.
Theme 7 : Autism
These modules will be of interest and relevance to those working with children, young people and adults with an interest in Autism. As with all modules, each can be taken as a stand- alone in combination with any others but collectively these three modules provide comprehensive coverage of the advanced and specialist knowledge, skills and understanding.
CD7014 Origins and Theory of Autism
Examines the history and clinical epistemology of autism, looking at the current psychological, sociological, neurological and clinical theories. It considers the implications of research by making informed assessments of the implications of research on professional practice
CD7015 Pedagogical models of working with Autism
Explores the impact behaviourist approaches have had upon the teaching and learning of individuals with autism. Reflecting upon the use of intensive interaction as a teaching and learning approach and evaluating the usefulness of alternative approaches. Considering issues for socio–cognition communication and language and evaluating the use of social stories in supporting classroom routine and change
CD7060 The Wider Issues of Autism
Examines the wider issues of Autism in educational and social settings including a consideration of the sensory differences of those with Autism, and the effects of emotion, stress and anxiety and their response. Finally it evaluates the support for an individual’s support network by looking beyond the child or young person.
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
120 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Diploma Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
180 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Masters degree Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Furthermore, the following specific award titles as Postgrdauate Certificate align to specific module completion:
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO) - CD7701, CD7702 & CD7703
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Leading and Managing Behavioural Approaches to Teaching and Learning - CD7706, CD7709 & CD7714
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Autism - CD7014, CD7015 & CD7060
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Multi Sensory Impairments - CD7033, CD7708 & CD7709
60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Further and Higher Education - CD7710, CD7711 & CD7712
The programme is designed to recognise former certificated and experiential learning through the Accreditation of Prior Learning process.
The MA Special Educational Needs and Disability is open to both graduates and non-graduates who can demonstrate professional experience although applicants will normally be graduates. Non-graduates will be invited for interview.
Applicants will normally be working in, or aspiring to, a role in a SEN context or, wishing to acquire specialist knowledge and skills. It is possible for applicants who are not in work to undertake the programme through a combination of university-based taught modules.
International students will need to evidence a recent IELTS score of no less than 6.5.
There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study specific to Education. The MA SEND draws on and extends the QAA (2010: updated 2016) Master's degree characteristics at Level 7 assuring the achievements represented by the qualification are appropriate and represented consistently.
Master's degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:
A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of research around educational leadership.
A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge about leadership.
Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship about leadership and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.
Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:
Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.
Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.
The programme adheres to the central University Learning and Teaching Strategy. From this, the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services have developed a local level response in the form of the Faculty Learning, Teaching, Assessment Improvement and Development Plan. This commits to pedagogical principles which include:
Promoting professional engagement and reflective practice;
Encouraging independent and autonomous learning;
Supporting continuing professional development;
Valuing students' professional experience and prior learning;
The programme includes a range of approaches to learning and teaching:
University-based Modules- These modules are held at the University in technology rich environments. A range of methodologies are employed which take account of best practice and maximise active learning, sensitive to the learning styles and needs of students. These methodologies include lectures, seminars, group work, directed tasks, independent research and individual, group tutorials and blended learning.
Independent Learning -Independent Learning is a philosophy of education which students are encouraged to adopt. It includes the opportunity to work with a supervising tutor who offers support as students work towards completing assessment tasks but is fundamentally a more over-arching concept about an autonomous approach to work.
Electronic Support Materials - The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an essential feature of the Programme. Each module has a dedicated module site where key information about the module and a range of materials and interactive elements to support learning and assessment, is available.
Electronic Tutorial Support – Students are able to contact their module tutor or module supervisor by email whenever they wish. Tutors will endeavour to respond to student queries within 3-5 days but often sooner. Tutorial support includes face-to-face tutorial support meetings and the opportunity for students to engage with online tutorial support. Individual tutorials can also be offered using a range of technologies such as Skype and Facetime. This is an important feature of the Programme as it enables students who may not live in close proximity to the University to access tutorial support remotely.
The programme strives to maintain a diverse assessment palette and rigorous, consistent assessment practices which aims to enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways.
All modules have a handbook that complies with University and Faculty Guidelines. All handbooks are available to students on the dedicated module space on Moodle (The University's VLE).
The module handbook includes:
Module aims and learning outcomes;
Procedures for submission of work;
Appropriate grading criteria;
Links to relevant documentation and University Policy eg. The Diversity and Equality Policy, The Disability, Gender and Race Equality Scheme, guidance on regulations governing the assessment of students.
All assessed work is graded according to a percentage scale 0-100 using the University's grading criteria linked to the appropriate QAA requirements All marking procedures comply with the central University Assessment Policies. Feedback to students is available electronically using the Turnitin and Grademark systems. Feedback on the work is intended to identify strengths and points of development. Assignments are not pre-marked. Students may receive formative, verbal feedback on plans or on a specified amount of work identified by the tutor.
Assessment criteria are communicated to students through Programme and Module handbooks with specific assignment guidance explaining the important features of each assignment.
Holders of the qualification will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for leading special educational provision in educational and other settings requiring the exercise of initiative and responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations. They will work from a value system that respects individual differences in children and young people and has an empathetic understanding of family and cultural diversity.
Students will be knowledgeable, reflective professionals with a commitment to their own continuing professional development and that of others.
The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
The first three modules CD7701, CD7702, CD7703 embed the learning outcomes of the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.
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