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Special Educational Needs

This programme aims to enable participants to become informed about the complex processes involved in including children who have special educational needs within mainstream classrooms and schools. While addressing the philosophical and policy issues relating to inclusion the course will also examine the practical implications of inclusion for the teachers, parents, schools and the children and young people involved.


Course Strand Leader | Dr Joanne Banks

Is this course for me?

This programme is designed to support teachers and management at primary and post-primary levels in developing an inclusive learning environment within schools.

See more details on the main courses website

Course Structure

The programme can be taken as one year full time or two and three years part-time. Taking the programme over one academic year involves completing four taught module assignments and a research dissertation. Students taking the programme over two academic years complete four taught module assignments in the first year and a research dissertation in the second year. Students taking the programme over three years complete two taught module assignments in each of the first two years and in the third year write a research dissertation.

The taught component contains four modules, with each module containing approximately 25 hours of contact time. The blended learning approach involves a mix of distance education and face-to-face interaction. Each module requires students to attend classes on two weekends (Friday night and all day Saturday), with on-line resources available to read in advance of each weekend of attendance.

  • Start Date: September 2019
  • Course Modules

    • Module One |Introduction to Special Education for the Classroom Teacher: Module one comprises of an introduction to the development of special educational provision both nationally and internationally. Critical issues affecting educational access for children and young people with special educational needs will be discussed and participants will be expected to critically engage with the theory and practice of inclusion.
    • Module Two |Including children with disabilities and/or SEN in the mainstream classroom: Module two addresses the challenges and opportunities involved in designing inclusive learning environments within classrooms and schools. In particular, this module will explore current identification and assessment processes; the staged process of assessment; individual education planning.
    • Module Three |Special Educational Needs and the Curriculum: Within Module three participants critically engage with international perspectives on appropriate pedagogies for children and young people with special educational needs. Enabling learner access to the curriculum is explored and practical differentiation strategies are presented. Research in the area of special education is examined and research strategies are discussed.
    • Module Four | Special education support for the mainstream school: Module four will examine the range of support provision in the education of children and young people who have special educational needs including whole school approaches; distinct roles of support personnel; support from agencies outside school. International perspectives on support will be explored on developing collaborative practice in addressing the support needs of children and young people who have special educational needs.

    Teaching and learning strategies

    A variety of teaching and learning strategies are used throughout the programme, including group discussion, problem-based learning, individual presentation, e-learning and accessing online resources, group project work, case-studies, lectures and individual reading and research. Assessment of the taught component is via four assignments, and may include essays, case-study reports, oral presentations and portfolio type projects.