Education (SEND) [Special Educational Needs and Disabilities]


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Key facts

Start dates

September 2024 / September 2025

Course length

Full time: 12 months, Harcourt Hill Campus

Part time: Two / three years depending on your chosen trajectory - part time on campus or distance learning


Explore the practices, pedagogies and policies in SEND today - and create truly inclusive learning spaces.

On this course, you’ll examine how educational policy and practices impact children with additional and varied needs. You’ll explore the latest theory and research on inclusion. You’ll examine data and scrutinise policy. And you’ll explore topics like:

  • emotional development & attachment
  • social, emotional and mental health needs
  • speech, language and communication needs
  • more complex learner profiles

You’ll develop an authoritative understanding of evidence-informed practices that can support children with additional and varied needs. And you’ll know how, when and where to use them. You’ll gain new insights into your own practice or organisational culture. And you’ll be able to confidently create learning environments where all children can experience care, belonging and success.

You’ll graduate ready to effect change - in your individual practice, across your school, or through research.

Three female students leaving lecture

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

This MA course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities, normally graduates with a recognised teaching qualification, or other educational professional experience.

Applicants normally have:

  • a good honours degree
  • QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), other equivalent professional qualification or relevant experience

Entry with credit

Credit for the award can be made up of appropriate work completed outside the course, for example, M level credit from PGCE awards or Postgraduate Certificate courses in relevant subject areas.

Subject to these having been gained in the last five years, applicants may transfer in credits gained from:

Please contact for more information.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

International students hold a conditional offer until payment of a deposit of £3,000 is received.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£980 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£980 per single module

International full time

International distance learning
£1,790 per single module

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,030 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£1,030 per single module

International full time

International distance learning part time
£1,880 per single module

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£980 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£980 per single module

International full time

International distance learning
£1,790 per single module

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,030 per single module

Home (UK) distance learning
£1,030 per single module

International full time

International distance learning part time
£1,880 per single module

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.

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2022 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Learning and assessment

You will require 180 credits at Masters level for the MA Education (SEND). Students typically complete this over a three year study period. This will include:

  • A compulsory module - Research Methods (20 credits)
  • A compulsory dissertation (60 credits)
  • Introduction to Special Educational Needs (20 credits - compulsory for those without a previous qualification in SEN)

To make up the remaining credits required, you will need to select at least 2 modules (40 credits) from the following:

  • Learning and Development in Childhood (20 credits)
  • Alternative Perspectives on Challenging Behaviour (20 credits)
  • The Inclusive Curriculum (20 credits)
  • Working with Children, Young People and their Families (20 credits)

You can also select up to a further 40 credits from the optional modules in the  MA in Education.

Credit towards your award can also be made up of appropriate work completed outside the course. For example by M level credit achieved in your PGCE and Postgraduate Certificate courses.

Male student studying on ipad

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods (20 credits)

    You’ll develop your knowledge of research approaches, methods and techniques for the study of children and childhood, education and language. You’ll explore the interdisciplinary nature of work in and across these areas. After taking this module, you’ll be well prepared for the methodological aspects of your dissertation.

Optional modules

Developing MA Literacies (20 credits)

You’ll develop the skills you need to be successful in your MA, in two key areas: 

  • the skills you need to operate confidently within your academic community as a researcher-practitioner
  • academic writing and critical reading skills for MA-level study.

Engaging with the academic community

The module will help you:

  • engage with the underlying beliefs and approaches to knowledge in your field of study/practice
  • become familiar with relevant journals, research articles and professional networks.

Engaging with MA-level study

The module will help you:

  • develop critical thinking and reflection in your academic reading and writing 
  • understand the strategies and conventions of writing in different academic genres.

Diversity and Achievement (20 credits)

How are children’s and young people’s achievements affected by factors like class, gender, disability and ethnicity? In this module, you’ll analyse the factors that predict educational success and failure for children and young people. You’ll then explore the implications for school policy and practice. 

You’ll look at data from case study material, which may draw on your own working context, or your peers’. Using these data, you’ll consider issues at the level of the individual child, the family, the school and the neighbourhood. You’ll go on to compare the analysis at the level of an individual in a particular place to educational outcomes from national and international data sources.

Mind and Brain (20 credits)

You’ll explore fascinating developments in educational neuroscience, beginning with developmental changes that occur throughout our lifespan. We’ll discuss pre- and post-natal development, followed by the changes that occur in childhood, adolescence and beyond. 

You’ll explore current insights from cognitive neuroscience that have implications for education, in areas like creativity, and gaming and ICT in learning. You’ll also think about the relationships between mind, brain, self and body using philosophical perspectives. And you’ll investigate case studies, opening up discussion and debate about this complex and controversial field.

Introduction to Special Educational Needs - Compulsory for those without a previous qualification in SEN (20 credits)

In this module for non-specialists and international students, you’ll learn about key concepts around Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). You’ll examine theories about inclusive practice, equality and equity. You’ll also have practical guidance on the broad areas of SEND (autism, emotional difficulties, learning difficulties, ADHD and complex SEND).

The module offers a smooth entry point for students wishing to access a named SEND route to an MA with Oxford Brookes University – ie MA Education (SEND).

Alternative Perspectives on Challenging Behaviour (20 credits)

You’ll explore challenging behaviour from a variety of perspectives, gaining an overview of factors that influence children’s and young people’s behaviour. In seminar workshops, you’ll discuss theoretical perspectives on children’s and young people’s social, emotional and mental health.

We’ll pay particular attention to ‘causes’ of challenging behaviour. We’ll look at individual and whole school approaches to managing behaviour, and consider the importance of recognising pupil voice and increasing pupil participation. And we’ll encourage you to reflect on and critique alternative educational provisions.

Alternative Perspectives on Literacy Difficulties (20 credits)

If you are working with children with literacy difficulties in either primary or secondary school, this module is for you. You’ll examine and evaluate theories and research on the reasons for failure to develop literacy skills. You’ll go on to review the implications of these ideas for school provision and your own current practice. 

The issues you’ll investigate may include:

  • debates around the terminology and aetiology (causes) of literacy difficulties
  • policy frameworks for supporting children with literacy difficulties
  • an overview of normal literacy processes
  • reviewing the research evidence on alternative explanations of literacy difficulties and dyslexia, including the neuropsychology of literacy and notions of the ‘dyslexic brain’
  • the phonics debate – what emphasis and which model? (eg synthetic or analytic phonics)
  • self-esteem and the social consequences of learning failure.

Literacy Difficulties: Assessment and Intervention (20 credits)

If you work with children with literacy difficulties in either primary or secondary school, this module will be of interest. You’ll develop skills in a range of assessment and teaching strategies for working with children and young people with significant literacy difficulties.

You’ll tackle subjects such as:

  • assessing literacy difficulties, principles of assessment, and reviewing a range of assessment techniques
  • interpreting evidence from specialist reports
  • using ICT to support children with literacy difficulties
  • developing organisational and thinking skills
  • workshops on case study material: discussion of assessment strategies / working theories as to children’s difficulties / approaches to intervention / choice of resources.

The Inclusive Curriculum (20 credits)

You’ll explore key aspects of curriculum design and delivery, in relation to access, equality of learning opportunity and inclusion. You’ll look at how cultural values influence curriculum content and organisation, and explore theories of decolonising the curriculum. The module content is relevant whether you’re a primary, secondary, FE or HE practitioner.

Working with Children, Young People and their Families (20 credits)

You’ll look at the role of people who work in services in this sector. Examining the policy and practice developments which are aimed at improving the quality of children’s lives. You’ll question the reasoning behind those developments, examine the evidence base and identify good practice. 

Ensuring effective communication between different services working with children and their families is difficult to achieve. We’ll look at the nature and complexity of this communication. 

We’ll also investigate issues like:

  • cultural capital, social and educational inclusion, children’s and young people’s needs, rights and opportunities
  • rationales for intervention: notions of ‘wellbeing’, ‘vulnerability’, ‘cycles of deprivation’
  • evaluating specialist interventions
  • communicating across disciplinary and professional boundaries 
  • managing complexity in services for children and their families – viewing the whole system
  • international comparisons of policy and practice in education and care.

Modules available to students undertaking the National SENCO Award

  • Improving Outcomes for SEND (20 credits)
  • Leading and Coordinating Provision for SEND (20 credits)
  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding for SEND (20 credits)

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

    In your dissertation or project, you’ll carry out a sustained piece of educational research. You’ll analyse and report your findings at a high critical level, justifying and supporting them with detailed reference to relevant theories and concepts. This work will comprise one third of the work for your degree.  

    If you’re writing a dissertation, you'll focus on a research problem of particular interest. If you’re enrolled on a named route of the MA Education, your topic will be relevant to your route (e.g. childhood and youth, L&M, SEND, TESOL, higher education). 

    If you’re working on a project, you’ll undertake a shorter piece of independent investigative or literature-based research. You’ll also produce a creative piece or artefact.


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.

Learning and teaching

If you choose the on-campus mode of study, you’ll learn at Harcourt Hill, our Education campus. You’ll learn via a mix of collaborative and independent methods - like:

  • workshops
  • presentations
  • peer evaluations
  • project work
  • lectures
  • directed reading

Classes are held mainly in the evenings, helping you balance study with work commitments. If you study full-time, Thursdays are key study days. And if you can’t make a class, you can access materials and discussions online.

If you choose to do the course via distance learning, you’ll learn via interactive and high quality online resources - with pre-recorded lectures, online readings and forums as well as online workshops at key points in the module. You’ll be able to learn at your own pace. Most students study by distance part-time over 3 years whilst working full time.


Assessment methods used on this course

Course modules, which are coursework-based, are assessed in the following ways:

  • essays
  • seminar presentations
  • reports
  • portfolios
  • investigative research
  • group work.


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

Student studying in the library

After you graduate

Career prospects

Students hoping to develop their careers in the world of SEND now have the opportunity to achieve a named MA Education award in special educational needs and disability

The MA Education (SEND) award will confirm to any future employer that you are a dedicated and resilient professional, capable of working at Masters level with a specialism in SEND.

There will be opportunities to develop skills in digital literacy, critical thinking and research evaluation - all of which represent transferable skills in the workplace

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Jonathan Reid

During his mainstream educational experiences, Jon developed an interest in supporting pupils with additional learning needs. Subsequently he spent time working in a therapeutic residential school catering for pupils who had experienced severe emotional trauma due to the accumulation of adverse experiences in infancy and early childhood. Jon then joined the Local Authority as a Behavioural Support Teacher, a role which involved visiting schools across the age range and working with a variety of professionals.

Read more about Jonathan

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.