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National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) PgCert


The National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination addresses the specific development needs of staff who have recently been appointed to the role of SENCo (or who aspire to that role), usually experienced teachers. Participants come from a range of settings including primary, special and secondary schools.

teacher and young adult with Down Syndrome laughing together

Photo credit: Alisa Herr

8 top reasons to study SENCO here...

Professional links: Sessions on the module will be taken by teachers and senior leaders from outstanding-rated partnership SEND schools.
Grow personally and professionally: Develop and demonstrate the personal and professional qualities and leadership you need to shape an ethos and culture based upon person-centred and inclusive practice.
Work-based placements: You'll already be working in a school – and applying your course learning to your role.  However, there may be the possibility of additional visits to SEND schools to broaden your teaching experience.
Academic progression: Graduates of the PgCert SENCO can progress on to the MA in Education (Special Education Needs and Disability).
Flexible teaching: The course is taught through lectures, discussions, workshops, video presentations and blended learning methods.
Experienced teachers: all academics are ex-teachers and have years of experience in the education industry
Global perspective: Be part of an academic community dedicated to social justice and global responsibility – with inspiring schedule of guest speakers, events, volunteering opportunities and exchange of ideas.
Evening classes: Suitable for people already in work and looking to enhance their CV and expertise, this course is offered through evening classes.

This course covers...

The course enables you to demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to meet National College for Teaching and Leadership's (NCTL) learning outcomes for the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination. The NCTL stipulate particular outcomes in terms of:

  1. Professional skills, knowledge and understanding: including an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the legislative context for SEN and theoretical concepts that underpin effective leadership and practice. To be informed by current practice, scholarship and research, and a critical awareness of current issues and developments in the subject and the profession;
  2. Professional development: including the expertise and capabilities that SENCOs need to lead and coordinate provision effectively.
  3. Professional values: including the personal and professional qualities that SENCOs need to make a positive impact on the ethos and culture in schools and other settings.

And, you'll you'll also be expected to engage critically and reflectively with the research and theory in the area of inclusion and SEND.

*This course is subject to validation

Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
1 year
Start Date
Southwark Campus


  • Improving learning outcomes for children and young people with SEND
    Providing students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to enable SEND learners to successfully achieve in their learning.  Focusing on the teaching and learning strategies needed to improve learning outcomes for children and Young People with SEND. 
  • Leadership and management of provision for children and young people with SEND
    This module builds on the previous module, developing the content explored previously in the context of becoming a leader and manager of SEND provision in an educational setting.  Enabling students to develop and demonstrate the personal and professional qualities and leadership they need to shape an ethos and culture based upon person-centred, inclusive, practice in which the interests and needs of children and young people pupils with SEN and/or disabilities are at the heart of all that takes place.


All modules are assessed by portfolio and case study / essay.

Session plan

Course content and topics are mapped out below over the 12 sessions:

  1. Understanding the history of and current practice and theory in inclusion, SEN, Disability, underachievement and facilitating access to learning for SEND learners.
  2. Being a child with SEND, identity, voice, learning, behaviour and the future.
  3. The Children and Families Act 2014 and improving learning outcomes.
  4. Case study and other preparation and research considerations needed in preparing for the module assignment.
  5. Early childhood development, learning theory and the ‘typical’ learner and how this relates learners with neurodiverse learner.
  6. Strategies for improving outcomes for learners with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
  7. Planning teaching and learning strategies to improve outcomes for and young people with SEND.
  8. Ensuring the learning environment supports improved learning outcomes for SEND learners, including: friendship, play, challenging peer relationships and promoting a learning environment that successfully accommodates difference.
  9. Promoting the role and value of families and carers of pupils with SEN and/or disabilities. Including working with learners and their families to consider the range of provision available to learners with SEND.
  10. Assessing learning progression of learners with SEND, assessment and evaluation tools and monitoring achievement.
  11. Student presentations of case studies for peer review and feedback
  12. Assignment tutorials.


Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.



Gianna Knowles

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Centre for Education and School Partnerships
Job title: Associate Professor in Education Studies

Gianna is an Associate Professor in Education Studies. She has over 12 years experience of teaching in primary schools in London and the Midlands. Gianna has written widely about inclusion, diversity and social justice.

Dr Nicola Martin

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Centre for Education and School Partnerships
Job title: Head of Research, Higher Degrees and Student Experience

Nicola has a PhD focussing on inclusive practice with autistic university students. She has 35 years’ experience in education working with disabled pupils and students from nursery age to adults in FE and HE and an international research profile in the field.


Teaching and learning

This course is taught through a combination of lecture sessions and workshops. You'll be supervised through a tutorial system and online materials with be available through Moodle (the University's Virtual Learning Environment).

The positive thing about this course is that it's taught during the School term so ensures teachers do not need to do anything extra during holidays, and it's also offered in the evening, so provides further flexibility for people already in work.

Entry requirements

  • Minimum BA/BSc and Qualified Teaching Status
  • All applicants must be serving teachers and have the support of their head teacher.

How to apply

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
1 year
Start date
Application code
Application method

If your course has a January start option, you should apply through UCAS Postgraduate. Postgraduate students and research students applying for September entry should use our dedicated application system. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience. Book an Advice Session.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2018/19.
UK/EU fee: £2500International fee: £4375
AOS/LSBU code: 5080Session code: 1PS00

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

Possible fee changes

The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a Masters course, studying either full- or part-time, you may be entitled to apply for a postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.


We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on funding your studies on the scholarships and fee discounts page.

Fee status

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.

New course: fees are not yet published

This is a new programme and we are yet to release the fees for this course. Please check back shortly, this is where we will publish fees as soon as they are available.


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Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Welcome Week

Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Welcome Week pages.

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Tel: 0800 923 8888

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