Course details

Study options

Part-time: 1 year

Course level



PG Cert

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

If you’re a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or aspiring to be one, this course will enable you to gain the National Award for SEN Co-ordination, which is required for the role.

The National Award for SEN Co-ordination is recognised in England as a high quality professional qualification which must be held by school-based co-ordinators of special educational needs and disability SEND (SENCOs) within three years of appointment to the role. By Law, SENCOs must also hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS, EYTS or QTLS).

If you have QTS, EYTS or QTLS, you will have achieved the PG Cert: National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN.

If you do not have QTS, EYTS or QTLS, you will achieve PG Cert: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN but not the National Award.

This course is designed to deepen your professional knowledge and skill in leading effective practice for SEN in your organisation.

The course will also examine current legislation and service requirements for SEND. You will be supported in developing an informed, critical stance on matters of debate. You will learn to apply small-scale enquiry in deep and critical ways to improve or challenge existing practices. You will also be able to apply recent research on good practice.

Underpinning the course is a focus on positive outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities and how you, as a knowledgeable, critical leader, might support others in delivering these.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

This course is made up of one 60 credit module called Leading Effective Inclusive Practice in SEND which explores theory and practice relevant to SEN leadership at a deep level.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

You will be taught through lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials and the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.

How you’re assessed

Assessment is entirely through coursework, including essays, reflective accounts and reports on action studies carried out in your setting.

Who will teach you

Geraldine Codina

Dr Geraldene Codina
Programme leader

Geraldine is the Programme Leader for the MA Inclusion and SEND and the National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading effective inclusive practice in SEN (PG Certificate)

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

PG Cert: National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN

Entry requirements for the PG Cert: National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN are as follows:

  1. You must be a qualified teacher holding either QTS, QTLS or EYTS. On application, you must provide a DfE number as evidence of this qualification. If you  hold the EYTS qualification then the National Award  entitles you only to take on the post of SENCO in an early years setting.
  2. If you hold QTS you cannot take the National Award in your NQT year. If you achieved EYTS or QTLS within the last year it is recommended you speak with the programme leader about your professional experience prior to applying for the course. 
  3. You must have access to an appropriate setting and experience and this must be evidenced on application .
  4. You must have the full support of the head teacher (or equivalent) and the governing body (or equivalent). This must be evidenced on application. A suitably qualified work-based critical friend must also be named on application.
  5. For SENCOs who are new to the role, it is mandatory to achieve the award within three years of appointment. On application, this condition must be confirmed by your head teacher (or equivalent). You will need complete and submit the Letter of Support document with your application which can be found in the How to Apply section below.

PG Cert: Leading Effective, Inclusive practice in SEN

You can apply for this course if you do not have QTS, QTLS or EYTS but graduation from the course will not include the National SENCo Award. If you would like to apply for this route, please contact our programme leader Dr Geraldene Codina to discuss entry requirements and your application.


How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Important information

Please ensure that you have completed the application form before sending the following documents. 

You will need to include evidence of your head teacher’s support and your DfE number. Please include with your application:

Apply directly to the University


If you have QTS, you will graduate with PG Cert: National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN, qualifying you to work as a SENCO.

If you don’t have QTS, you’ll gain PG Cert: Leading Effective Practice in SEN. This will prepare you to provide guidance and advice to others on how to support learners with SEN within educational settings. You will also become a well informed practitioner with expertise in effective practice.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.