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PGCert Education – Working with Children with Literacy Difficulties


School of Education

Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)

This course is designed for experienced teachers and graduate teaching assistants working with children and young people with literacy difficulties and is organised by Oxford Brookes in partnership with Oxfordshire Local Authority.

The course meets the criteria for the taught elements of Associate Membership to the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA). To apply for full AMBDA status you will need to do an additional  observed and mentored practice with a qualified AMBDA practitioner. This can be organised through the course for an additional fee.

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

Course length

  • Part time: 12 months

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

  • This course has been specifically designed for those wishing to lead on work with children with literacy difficulties in primary and secondary schools and makes up the university component of Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).  
  • Teaching is in collaboration with the Oxfordshire Local Authority and reflects a long standing and ongoing partnership with the Authority and local practitioners.
  • You will be able to network with other practitioners and and to have access to information about local jobs specialising in work with children with literacy difficulties.
  • Oxford Brookes School of Education combines high quality teaching and significant research and consultancy activity. 
  • The School is a focal point for lively, informed debate on education through close partnership with local schools and colleges and our open seminar and lecture programmes.

This is a three-module course leading to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Literacy Difficulties.

The modules are:

  • Alternative Perspectives on Literacy Difficulties
  • Literacy Difficulties - Assessment and Intervention
  • Managing Literacy Difficulties in School.

Alternative Perspectives on Literacy Difficulties includes:

  • an overview of normal literacy processes - literacy and self esteem
  • debates on the terminology and aetiology of literacy difficulties
  • the historical and policy frameworks for supporting children with literacy difficulties
  • reviewing the research on alternative explanations of literacy difficulties
  • dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder and related difficulties.

Literacy Difficulties - Assessment and Intervention includes:

  • the phonics debate: what emphasis and which model (synthetic or analytic phonics)?
  • assessing literacy difficulties - reviewing a range of assessment techniques
  • interpreting evidence from specialist reports
  • teaching interventions: multi-sensory / precision teaching / phonological approaches / meta-cognitive approaches such as Reading Recovery, counselling support
  • maximising educational access - when to support and when to go around difficulties
  • developing organisational and thinking skills
  • shared workshops on case study material.

Managing Literacy Difficulties in School includes:

  • whole-school policies, such as creating a dyslexia friendly school
  • talking with parents about their children’s literacy difficulties
  • acting as advocate for children with literacy difficulties (case building and report writing)
  • working with external agencies on children with literacy difficulties
  • creating a resource base to support good provision for children with literacy difficulties
  • working with / training teaching assistants to support children with reading difficulties
  • preparing pupils for formal examination procedures (eg amanuensis).

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, course content may change from the details given here.

Teaching and learning

The course takes place through lectures, seminars and workshops to support both the theoretical and practical elements of the course. This includes workshops that support the practical projects required in modules 2 and 3. For each module, the course contact time is typically:

  • one whole day and five evenings (approx. 24 hours contact time)
  • two online discussions (approx. six hours of contact time).

Approach to assessment

Each module is assessed by an essay / report of approximately 4,000 words. Assignments are based on work in your own professional context eg case studies of the assessment and intervention of two children. Assignment schedules are timed to meet the needs of busy practitioners.

Attendance pattern

Module 1 runs in the autumn term,  with an assignment hand-in date in January.

Module 2 runs in the spring term with an assignment hand-in date in May.

Module 3 runs in the summer term with an assignment hand-in date in August.  
The pattern for each term consists of five evening sessions (Wednesday 16:00 – 19:30) and one day session (Friday).  

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

A degree in a relevant subject area and experience of working with children with literacy difficulties.  For the associated AMBDA award  (Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association), Qualified Teacher Status is also needed.

Please contact the Programme Administrator 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

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 course will develop your knowledge of working with children with literacy difficulties. As well as the input from course tutors the course is designed to enable you to network with other colleagues who have a wide range of experience of children with literacy difficulties and of managing literacy difficulties in schools. 


The course is organised by Oxford Brookes in partnership with Oxfordshire Local Authority and meets the criteria for the taught elements of Associate Membership to the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA). The PGCert enables teachers to assess people for exam concessions and the AMBDA qualification is the leading quality standard for specialist work in the field.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

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

Georgina Glenny, Course Leader is currently running a project investigating the use of text-to-speech software to support reluctant writers in local primary and secondary schools. Students on the literacy difficulties course have been involved in helping with this study. Rachael Falkner, co-tutor on the course, is researching children's perspectives on assessment.

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.

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

View all staff profiles for School of Education