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PGCert Education – National Award for SEN Coordination


School of Education

Postgraduate Certificates

The PGCert Education: National Award for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Co-ordination is a mandatory course for all SENCOs new to the role and must be completed within 3 years of being appointed SENCO.


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

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus / School-based learning

Course length

  • Part time: 12 - 18 months part time

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • SENCOs have a central role to play in schools to ensure that effective provision for children with SEN/D is made  and that the needs of individual learners are met.The government is committed to improving outcomes for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEN/D).
  • Course tutors have professional experience in a range of SEN/D settings. This includes leading Pupil Referral Units, managing specialist SEN/D facilities and working as school based SENCOs.
  • Our course is delivered jointly with the Oxfordshire Inclusion Support Team (OXIST) and the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust (BLT) who provide in-school support and Portfolio guidance.
  • The School of Education at Oxford Brookes is one of the largest schools of education in the UK, combining high quality teaching and significant research and consultancy activity. The School of Education is a focal point for lively, informed debate on education through its seminar and lecture programmes.
  • You will be joining a university which is widely regarded as a major contributor to the improvement of education and learning, locally and nationally. Our Harcourt Hill campus has impressive study facilities, including an extensive library and Virtual Learning Environment.
  • We work in close partnership with hundreds of schools and colleges and other organisations.

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

  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding for SEND
  • Improving Outcomes for Learners with SEND
  • Leading and Coordinating Provision for SEND

Teaching and learning

Professional Knowledge and Understanding for SEND: course schedule:

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

There are two elements to the assignment - an online summary of discussion and an essay.

Improving Outcomes for Learners with SEND:  course schedule:

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

The assessment will include a summary of online discussion, a presentation and an essay (or equivalent) (4,000 words).

Leading and Coordinating Provision for SEND:  course schedule:

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

The assessment will include, a summary of an online discussion and a small-scale practitioner enquiry

Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Approach to assessment

In addition to module assessments SENCOs must present a portfolio of evidence for assessment demonstrating that they have met all the 49 learning outcomes specified by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Attendance pattern

There are three modules of study comprising of a notional 24 hours per module of teaching activity which may include early evening, whole day, half day and online learning.

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.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £2,250 2020/21: £2,565

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see funding for Postgraduate students from the UK and EU

Entry requirements

All applicants must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

The National Award for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Coordination is a mandatory course for new SENCOs and for SENCOs presently working in this role. The award must be achieved within 3 years of being appointed. The course is available to SENCOs working in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire schools only. 

Please contact the Programme Administrator at education@brookes.ac.uk to register your interest.

English language requirements

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

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

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

To apply for this course please complete the PG Cert Education: National Award for SEN Coordination application form

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.

How this course helps you develop

The post of SENCO is likely to have an increasing importance within the structure of schools, becoming a clear route for career progression. It is also an important step towards a master's degree.


Many of our SENCOs who complete the course go onto further career progression eg Director of Inclusion across a federation of schools, Inclusion consultant with OXIST, Deputy and Assistant Head roles with responsibility for Inclusion.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

SENCOs in Oxfordshire schools will be coached and supported by an Inclusion consultant from the Oxfordshire Inclusion Support Team (OXIST).

SENCOs in Buckinghamshire schools will be supported by members of the Buckinghamshire Learning Trust. 

Each SENCO will have the support of an Academic Advisor to help with their academic studies.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of our School of Education staff were entered for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 (UoA 25). Almost 90% of our research was deemed to be of international merit, with around one half either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Contributions to the REF were spread across all of our research groups.

Our research aims to create impact on contemporary educational issues - supporting knowledge creation and developing innovative approaches to researching pedagogic practices. The School’s research strategy functions at all spatial scales, from local to global. We publish our highest quality research in leading peer-reviewed journals. Emeritus, Honorary and Visiting Research Fellows contribute to our research programmes and outputs.

The School holds two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. Our Research Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers) runs annually - all students are invited to attend. We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

Members of the School are engaged in a variety of funded and unfunded research projects; we have previously enjoyed prestigious funded scholarships (such as the Fulbright – Peabody scholarship) and, when feasible, offer funded Research Studentships to doctoral applicants. Our Centre for Educational Consultancy and Development (CECD) regularly secures consultancy and research money.

As might be expected in such a research active school, many staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.

View all staff profiles for School of Education

Research areas and clusters

The School of Education at Oxford Brookes University 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.

The School’s six research groups reflect a thriving research community of academics, scholars and students. They exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops. These focus on:

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