Education - National Award for SEN Coordination


Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Part time: 12-18 months

Location: Harcourt Hill

Department(s): School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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The PGCert Education: National Award for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Co-ordination is a mandatory qualification for all newly appointed SENCos. It must be completed within three years of your SENCo appointment.

The government is committed to improving outcomes for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEN/D).

SENCos play a central role in schools to ensure that:

  • effective provision is made for children with special educational needs and disability (SEN/D)
  • and that the needs of individual learners are met.

Our course is delivered jointly with the Oxfordshire School Inclusion Team (OXSIT),
who support the development of best practice in schools and provide portfolio

Our course tutors have professional experience of senior leadership and the SENCO
role in a variety of schools. We also work in close partnership with hundreds of
schools and colleges and other organisations, some of which also contribute to the
course, e.g. Oxfordshire SEN team, Mulberry Bush Outreach Team, Oxfordshire
Hospital School.

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Course details

Course structure

This is a three module course (60 credits) leading to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs.

Group of students talking after a lecture

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning activities include:

  • online learning
  • lectures
  • online discussions
  • presentations
  • practitioner enquiry.


Module assessments will include reflective commentaries based on online discussions, essays, presentations and an SEN development project. Completion of the three modules leads to the PGCert. To attain the full National Award for SENCO, you must also present a portfolio of evidence from your practice, demonstrating that you have met all the 49 learning outcomes specified by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Study modules

The schedule for each module is:

  • one whole day and five evenings (approximately 21 hours of contact time)
  • one online discussion (approximately three hours of contact time)


Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding for SEND (20 credits)

    Module 1 gives you an in-depth analysis of the professional knowledge and understanding that you need to be an effective Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). You’ll have an overview of the statutory and regulatory context for SEN/Disability and the implications for practice in schools and other settings. 

    You’ll also consider how the SENCo can help to develop a positive ethos, and promote a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils.



  • Improving Outcomes for Learners with SEND (20 credits)

    Module 2 focuses on ways to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND. You’ll explore a range of high incidence areas of SEND, with an emphasis on quality-first teaching, the whole school ethos, and class teachers taking responsibility for children with SEND. You’ll also look at the importance of the SENCo working with senior colleagues and governors to promote a whole-school culture of high expectations and best practice.


  • Leading and Coordinating Provision for SEND (20 credits)

    Module 3 focuses on the professional qualities needed for effective SENCo leadership. You’ll investigate staff deployment along with OFSTED frameworks, the mediation process and embedding SEND policy across the school. You’ll also undertake a small-scale project, with a focus on planning for and leading change effectively in your own setting.


Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The School of Education, Humanities and Languages is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. Students on master's level programmes therefore join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study.

We hold two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. All students are invited to attend our annual Research

Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers). We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

The School’s six research groups exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

View all staff profiles for School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Many of our SENCOs who complete the course go on to further career progression,
for example as:


  • deputy / assistant head with responsibility for inclusion
  • director of inclusion across a federation of schools
  • LA consultant
  • Leader of organisations supporting CYP with SEND.

Many non-SENCOs joining the course have secured SENCO positions during or
after completing the course.

Entry requirements

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

How to apply

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) part time

Home (UK) part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) part time

2024 / 25
Home (UK) part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.