Education Studies - SEN, Disabilities and Inclusion

BA (Hons)

UCAS code: X301

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

Location: Harcourt Hill

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

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How can we support young people with special educational needs (SEN) or a disability to learn and thrive? How can therapies or alternative settings help an excluded child become a happy, confident adult?

Our Education Studies (SENDI) BA explores the world around the child with a focus on children with additional needs. You’ll develop a specialist knowledge of the demands and needs of children with special needs or disabilities and learn skills to launch a rewarding teaching career. Others have gone into various therapeutic roles to specialist support worker or outdoor learning specialist.

You’ll explore the underlying principles, history and psychology of education and analyse education’s role in society with a view to the future. We’ll help you discover exciting career paths through hands-on annual work placements connected to your future goals – perhaps in a special school, forest school or working alongside a range of allied professionals. And you can tailor the course to your special interests through a wide range of options.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Yearly placements

    One strength is the annual placement. See how things work in special schools, family centres and forest schools or join support workers in a local authority.

  • Outdoor learning specialism

    Optional modules across all 3 years mean you could become an outdoor learning specialist.

  • Social justice focus

    Our team shares expertise in social justice and its impact on children. Develop skills in supporting children with a variety of diverse needs such as children in care, young carers or unaccompanied children.

  • Field trips

    The department’s strong links to Sweden allow you to explore different educational approaches on yearly self-funded field trips. These have a distinct SEND and inclusion element so practice can be compared and contrasted.

  • Conferences

    We encourage you to publish your work and participate in conferences as part of your professional development.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Oxford Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

In year 1, the key themes are nurturing and inclusion. You’ll examine human development and explore education from medieval times to now. This includes new approaches like outdoor learning, approaches to teaching science and technology, and the importance of play.

Discover how the developing brain works and explore contemporary issues around children with diverse needs in year 2. You can also tailor parts of the course to your interests. For example, you can study the way dance and play benefit children who are struggling in mainstream education, or you could study the impact of children’s literature.

Next, you choose a year abroad at a partner university or continue to your final year.

In your final year, you’ll study young people in challenging circumstances and look at alternative learning spaces. You will complete a dissertation and examine education philosophies. Finally, you can pick from options that include outdoor learning, the family, inequalities, and care. 

Each year includes a field trip and a work placement.

Student sat down at a desk using a laptop

Learning and teaching

A wide variety of modules ensure that you will be able to develop a depth of knowledge about complex educational issues. As well as opportunities and challenges associated with improving the outcomes for our most vulnerable learners. 

These involve: 

  • tackling discrimination
  • addressing inequalities
  • challenging attitudes and beliefs
  • being an advocate for children and young people 
  • making a positive difference.


Assessment is 100% coursework. 

Coursework may be in the form of: 

  • a written essay (up to 3000 words)
  • group presentations
  • an observational study
  • a case study of a cultural artefact
  • the creation of a learning object (online teaching resource)
  • critical/ thematic reviews of literature
  • development of a portfolio of work
  • participation in online activities, eg contributions to forum discussions
  • independent study
  • a dissertation.

Field Trips

Field Trips are optional and the cost will be in addition to your course fees. See the 'Additional costs' section for details of this and other additional costs.

Study modules

Teaching for this course takes place face to face and you can expect around 8 hours of contact time per week.

In addition to this, you should also anticipate a workload of 1,200 hours per year.

Teaching usually takes place Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 6.00pm.

Contact hours involve activities such as lectures, seminars, practicals, assessments, and academic advising sessions. These hours differ by year of study and typically increase significantly during placements or other types of work-based learning.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • History of Education

    You'll learn about important things in education policy and how it works in England. You'll focus on schools and the links to bigger changes happening in society. In areas like

    • the economy
    • culture
    • technology
    • and politics. 

    Also you'll look at how education has changed over time, starting from the 1800s until now. With a main focus on England, you'll also compare it to other countries in the UK to gain a broader understanding.

  • Introduction to Studying in Education

    While studying early childhood and education you'll read various texts, such as:

    • research papers
    • government policies
    • and media reports. 

    It's important to learn how to interpret texts and gain knowledge creation understanding.  On this module you'll start to develop key academic and study skills necessary for higher education:

    • library skills
    • literature searches
    • academic writing
    • essay planning
    • and referencing. 

    Additionally, you'll also learn through an academic integrity course. You'll focus on personal learning, with opportunities for reflection. You'll finish the module able to work on your own or collaboratively. You'll also advance your skills for academic reading and writing. 

  • Child and Adolescent Development

    You'll explore important aspects of childrens’ and adolescents' development from different perspectives. You'll learn theoretical knowledge about how growth, play, and learning interconnect in development. 

    You'll also explore practical applications for supporting holistic development. You'll draw on theories from:

    • developmental psychology
    • sociological and anthropological research.

    You'll also study practitioner texts and theoretical materials related to supporting children and adolescents' learning and development.

  • Placement 1: Understanding Education

    This is your chance to work in the community and learn about education in real-life situations. The goal is to give you a wide range of experiences and show you that education also happens away from the school environment. You'll also discuss important things like:

    • keeping people safe
    • being fair and inclusive
    • and doing the right thing. 

    You'll have the choice to pick a place locally that interests you, and we'll help you arrange your experience there.

  • Nuturing Inclusivity

    You'll focus on the importance of nurture and care in education, with a specific emphasis on promoting inclusion and wellbeing. By studying this module, you will learn about inclusive practices and how to put them into action. This will help you prepare for work placements and to gain insights into policy and legislation in this area. You'll also explore the long-term effects of promoting inclusion and wellbeing for everyone. 

    We'll look at national and international perspectives on how children and young people experience inclusion and understand diversity. You'll consider various perspectives from different fields such as:

    • history
    • sociology
    • psychology
    • and philosophy. 

    You'll examine policy, teaching methods, and actual practices related to fostering inclusivity. You will gain an understanding of how to create an environment that reflects the needs of all individuals by reviewing research and analyzing relevant materials.

Optional modules

Young Children's Outdoor Learning

In this module, you’ll explore how young children learn through play. You’ll also discover how adults plan exploration and play for children in outdoors environments. You’ll get to grips with two key areas: 

  • maintaining good provisions and interactions in an early years outdoors area
  • teaching and learning through the Forest School approach. 

You’ll look at how children and adults interact in a variety of situations. You’ll also gain core knowledge of health and safety training, as you study issues such as: 

  • children as risk-takers
  • off-site travel
  • maintaining a safe environment

You’ll develop core analytical skills as you explore how research and government policy affect children’s outdoor learning. 


Pedagogies to Promote STEAM

You'll start an exploration of how educators can support and encourage curiosity and exploration in children, through the use of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). 

You'll focus on understanding and developing teaching methods that can enhance childrens' learning. Incorporating STEAM concepts into each of these areas. You will have the chance to 

  • investigate
  • observe
  • and create opportunities for hands-on experiments and problem-based learning. 

You'll also join discussions on the challenges and difficulties that may arise when implementing STEAM in different educational settings.

Pedagogies to Promote Play

You'll focus on understanding play from various personal and professional perspectives. Exploring how children, young people, and adults engage in play, make decisions, and express their creativity. You'll also look at the role of professionals in developing effective teaching methods. To support exploration and play  in different environments:

  • indoors
  • outdoors
  • or in virtual settings.

Throughout the module, you will learn how children use play to express their knowledge, skills, ideas, and interests. You'll examine the importance of inclusion in play. Also you'll be evaluating the impact of physical and virtual creative spaces on promoting play.

You'll study the foundations and principles of play, helping you to identify appropriate strategies and interventions to meet the needs and preferences of individuals and groups. We'll also explore how to create play spaces and places, as well as develop an understanding of managing "risky" play.


Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Placement 2: Contextualising Education

    In this module, you'll get to expand on your community work experience. You'll gain a greater understanding and build on your previous placement experience. You'll have the opportunity to choose a setting in our local area based on your interests. There are different areas like:

    • outdoor education
    • special educational needs and disabilities
    • creativity and the arts, 
    • and technology 

    in which you can take your placement.

    You'll also explore different issues in education by looking at community experiences. You'll discuss past and current issues, so you can explore topics that interest you and relate it to your placement. You'll develop and progress your critical thinking skills. By reflecting personally, professionally and academically on your experience. You'll have the support to think about and talk openly about your experiences by the end of this module.

  • Psychology of Education

    What can the most famous psychological theorists tell us about human learning through the ages? In this module, you’ll look at learners in various settings. You’ll examine the learning environment, and factors such as motivation and different types of intelligence. You’ll gain excellent critical skills as you examine teaching and learning styles and the importance of self-esteem to the learning process.

  • Becoming a Researcher

    What are the ethical issues of doing research on children? You’ll gain the core tools you need to carry out effective research in early years. You’ll develop the confidence and expertise to succeed in your degree, and understand the research methods that social scientists and educational practitioners use, including:

    • interviews
    • observation
    • questionnaires.

    You’ll have a grounding in reliable and valid research, giving you fantastic skills for your future career.

  • Contemporary Issues in Education Studies

    You'll learn about important ideas and concepts in:

    • schools
    • higher education
    • and lifelong learning. 

    You'll also discuss how these ideas are still relevant in today's educational debates. You'll explore these ideas from a theoretical perspective. Then you'll take a critical approach to current educational policies and positions.

    Also you'll look at and consider different educational "alternatives." Thinking about learning:

    • at home or at school
    • progressive or traditional approaches
    • organizing education based on different subjects or goals
    • and whether the curriculum is explicit or not. 

    You'll discuss these alternatives and you'll have a chance to question your own educational experiences. Using the theory you've learned, you'll apply critical thinking to common educational situations and practices.

  • Children with Diverse Needs

    You'll build on what you learned in previous modules. You'll focus on celebrating diversity. Including ways to support children, families, and siblings in accessing services to meet their needs. 

    You'll look at a wide range of needs that can affect children and families. You'll also look at educational settings and communities, going beyond special educational needs. You'll examine the issues and difficulties surrounding inclusive services for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. 

    Our goal is to help you understand how policies and practices related to special educational needs have evolved over time. We'll also delve into the legal framework that governs special educational needs provision.  Also we'll discuss discrimination and challenge you to reflect on your own attitudes and beliefs.

Optional modules

The Social World of Childhood and Youth

Do you remember how you felt as a child? In this module, we’ll explore the world of children, and how our ideas about childhood have changed through time. You’ll consider the impact of different models of socialisation on children. And you’ll explore the factors - cultural, structural and experimental - which develop a child’s identity.  We’ll make good use of life and historical material.

Supporting Wellbeing

You'll build on what you've learned in your first year. You'll explore ways to support people's physical, mental, social, and emotional needs through education. You'll review existing policies and practices that aim to promote wellbeing. 

Throughout the module, you'll develop a critical understanding of the factors that influence health and wellbeing in 

  • children, 
  • teenagers, 
  • and adults. 

You'll gain insights into the complexities of supporting and promoting wellbeing within the education system. This includes working together with different agencies and facing practical challenges when planning, implementing, and evaluating strategies and services for mental health and wellbeing in schools.

Creative and Therapeutic Approaches

You'll learn about therapeutic interventions and creative approaches that support people in different situations. You'll cover various therapies, including:

  • play therapy 
  • art therapy
  • medical health therapy
  • physical health therapy
  • occupational health therapy 
  • and mental health therapy. 

You'll explore the application of approaches to individuals, families, and communities. By the end of the module, you will be able to use this knowledge in your own field, considering individual and group therapy, educational support, supervision, and safeguarding.

Children’s Literature

In this module, you'll deepen your knowledge and understanding of children's literature and the importance of positive early literacy experiences for young children. You'll have the opportunity to read and think about a variety of texts and authors, with a focus on picture books. Also you'll discuss the significance of diversity and representation in children's literature.

You'll develop your critical reading skills and explore how words and pictures work together. You'll look at how children learn to read. You'll also learn to choose texts that support their reading development and enjoyment. 

Finally, you'll consider how the digital world might affect children's experiences with literature.

Outdoor Learning

You'll learn about the natural environment and its importance in relation to childrens' learning and development. 

You'll explore ways to enhance learning experiences. You'll look at engaging in ecological projects and developing your understanding of global climate issues. 

You'll also examine outdoor learning and environmental education in: 

  • early years settings
  • schools
  • and communities.

Independent Study Module

You'll have the opportunity to focus in depth on a specialist area of research or other co-curricular topic not otherwise available in modules on the course.

You'll discuss with your academic supervisor on what you will focus on. Your independent study focus will be approved by this module's leader.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation

    This module gives you the chance to carry out independent research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll produce a dissertation of about 10,000 words, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of substantive and methodological issues in your specific area of study. You’ll have the support of an expert tutor in education. 

    Recent dissertation topics have looked at issues as diverse as:

    • the role of play in early years education in the UK and globally
    • what factors contribute to independent learning in Maths in Year 4
    • how technology is used to support communication for pupils with autistic spectrum disorders, in particular the use of iPads
    • the impact of the undergraduate fee rise on student aspirations.
  • Philosophy of Education

    What can philosophy tell us about education and its aims? In this module, you’ll get to know a range of current and historical perspectives on education. You’ll understand that education is full of differing values, and that its core concepts are frequently contested. You’ll gain critical skills for your future career, as you analyse some of the key texts which shape the way we understand education. You’ll also examine your own assumptions about education, and create your own reasoned arguments as you participate in current debate.

  • Young People in Challenging Circumstances

    Why have some children been excluded from education? How can we work to include various groups in education? You’ll build on your knowledge and explore the experiences of children who have been marginalised or excluded, and how this impacts the child. You’ll look at national and international models and practice relating to inclusion.You’ll gain core analytical skills as you explore and critique different models and practices for improving inclusion. 

  • Alternative Spaces for Learning

    You'll look at different places that can help us learn, feel good, and do well. You'll explore places like Pupil Referral Units, Alternative Provisions, and Special Schools that offer different ways of learning. You will also look at other places like museums, galleries, and the great outdoors that can inform learning.

  • Placement 3: Professional Development in Practice

    You'll build on your experience of working in education. You'll also think about the professional role in education. You'll gain more experience related to education, building on your previous experiences.

    You'll have the choice to work in different places in your local area. You'll be able to pick the place that interests you the most. You will learn about:

    • development of your employability skills
    • industry knowledge specific to your chosen area of interest
    • career guidance to prepare you for employment as a graduate on your placement.

    You'll reflect on your learning while on placement and how it may influence your approach. 

    You'll look at different perspectives and ideas about learning, personal and professional growth. Including how organizations work. You'll gain the confidence and skills to work in the field of education.

Optional modules

Children, Youth and Families in Society

You'll study how people think about and treat children, young people, and families in the UK. You'll look at different ideas and beliefs about them, how they interact with society, and how society responds to their needs. 

You'll explore different ways that children, young people, and families are raised and influenced by society. Also you'll consider the cultural and personal factors that shape policies and practices. As part of the module, you will choose a specific topic to study on your own. You will investigate how society has viewed and supported a particular group of people. Whether they are children, young people, or families.

International Contexts and Comparisons

You'll learn about education and care policies and practices. You'll look at previous practices and compare them in the four countries of the UK. You' ll also study education and care practice in different cultures and countries. 

You'll see how education is part of programs that can help development in countries. Also you'll look at how provision and policy differs between countries, and look at it from different points of view like 

  • financial support
  • political support
  • and media perceptions. 

To understand how it works in real life, you'll study real projects from around the world. You'll learn about important things in education and care. Seeing how different countries develop their education systems.


Compassion and Care in Practice

You'll build upon what you've learned before about inclusive teaching methods. You'll focus on ways to help others grow and develop, showing kindness, understanding, and strength when providing care. 

You'll look at compassion and care practice, considering different theories and ideas. Then you'll explore how these concepts apply to various professions. Also you'll learn about the current policies in the UK and study educational approaches that emphasize compassion and care. Throughout the module, you'll use research to gain knowledge and understanding, building your critical thinking skills in exploring these topics.


Environments for Learning

You'll build on what you already know about learning and growing up. You'll explore different places and spaces that help us learn and develop. By studying and thinking about physical and psychological spaces, you will gain a better understanding of where and how learning can happen. You'll also learn about the role that professionals play in planning and creating these learning environments in different settings.

You'll discuss practices and places that try to address challenges. Also you'll consider how to make sure these environments are accessible to everyone and celebrate diversity.

STEAM in Pedagogy and Research

You'll look at how we can study teaching and research from different viewpoints like,

  • technology
  • engineering
  • the Arts
  • and maths. 

By examining things from different angles, you'll get a better understanding of the whole picture instead of just focusing on one. We'll learn about the similarities and differences between these approaches on paper and in practice. We'll also discuss creativity and how it's seen from psychological, sociological, and teaching perspectives.

Children in the Outdoors: Critical Issues

You'll explore the discourse around children being in the natural environment. You'll also look at the contested discussions about children being outdoors. 

You'll build on previous knowledge you've gained about children learning outside and playing in ways that might be a bit risky. We'll look at how children use and feel about natural spaces like,

  • forests
  • adventure playgrounds
  • and parks. 

Also you'll learn how these places can help children learn about the environment and understand important issues, through programs like Forest School or Environmental Education.

Independent Study

In this module, you will work on your own project, choosing a suitable topic or set of topics. The module leader will guide you and provide supervision. Your project may involve practical work if relevant. The specific focus of your project and how it will be assessed will be discussed and agreed upon by the module leader and you. Instead of traditional lectures, you will have tutorial support to help you throughout the module.

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.


Studying BA Education (SENDI) empowers you with a wealth of specialist knowledge to kickstart your career. Your annual placements help you build a network of professional connections. This means you’ll graduate feeling well-placed to apply for specialist education settings and postgraduate training. 

Some of our students pursue careers in youth work or join charities, while others go straight into schools as specialist behaviour support workers. Others choose to pursue a PGCE in Primary or Secondary (alongside a specialist subject) or an MA in Education with a specialism.

You may decide to study in a postgraduate therapeutic field, such as play therapy or speech and language therapy. WIth this route your SENDI specialism could give you an advantage over other applicants.

Student profiles

Related courses

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions:

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

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

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

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.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

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.