Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2021 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Top25for Education**The Guardian University Guide 2021

Our distinctive degree paves the way to some of the most rewarding, inspiring and satisfying careers of all – working in special educational needs and disability support.

This course prepares you for a broad range of roles where you can improve the life experiences of individuals with special learning needs. You’ll build the skills and knowledge to support children and adults with diverse needs, such as specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities, behavioural problems and sensory impairments.

Specialist knowledge to take you far

You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of SEND. We engage you in discussions and debates, harnessing the latest research to stimulate your thinking and challenge your ideas. You’ll also explore the possible psychological, sociological, philosophical and biological causes of SEND.

Successful SEND support relies on collaboration from a range of professionals including carers, social workers, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) and therapists. As part of the course, you’ll take a close look at the importance of this multi-agency support and the positive impact it can have on individuals.

Gain vital practical skills on placement

Throughout the course we place a strong focus on real world learning. To ensure that you’re ‘career ready’ when you graduate, you’ll learn a range of practical techniques to help support individuals both inside and outside the classroom.

You’ll undertake two placements as part of your studies, giving you important insights into professional practice. You can choose to be based in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, social services, adult provision or charitable organisations. In your second year, you’ll have the option to undertake study and a placement abroad.

Be inspired by our expertise

Our course is delivered by a dedicated and enthusiastic team, including experts in the fields of education, health, psychology and social work. They will share their experiences with you and provide fresh perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of working in SEND.

The University has a growing reputation as a centre for excellence in SEND and inclusive practices, which means your course is underpinned by latest theories and innovative ideas. Our lecturers regularly publish their work and have conducted important studies into a wide range of subjects, such as managing the inclusion of SEND pupils in the classroom.

Draw on our professional networks

Our strong professional links enrich your learning and introduce you to leading practitioners. Our Visiting Professors include notable figures such as Brian Lamb OBE, who chaired a high-profile inquiry into parental confidence in SEND and whose work has influenced major policy changes.

We have launched a Professional Development Network for SEND and Inclusive Practice which brings together practitioners who are working to ensure positive, effective and inclusive education across the special and mainstream sectors.

As part of this professional community, you’ll be able to take part in our annual SEND conferences which attract influential guest speakers and spark important debates about how to improve SEND provision.

A vibrant learning experience

We pride ourselves on providing a friendly, welcoming learning environment where you will receive plenty of encouragement and guidance. Our tutors are approachable, dedicated and passionate about their subjects.

You’ll learn in our Kirtley Building which offers first-rate facilities, including specially designed collaborative learning spaces and a large hall for practical activities and observing learning in action.

Pursue your personal interests

We offer a choice of optional modules so that you can tailor your studies to match your personal interests and career aspirations. These could cover themes such as autism in children and adults, attention disorders, diversity in social, emotional and behavioural development, and diversity in communication, speech and language development.

If you would like to broaden your horizons further still, you also have the Go Places, Go Further scheme, we have agreements with universities in countries such as Amsterdam and Brussels, where you can explore a new culture and add an extra dimension to your CV.

Guaranteed interviews for our PGCE Primary

If you complete this degree and meet the entry requirements for our PGCE Primary course, we will guarantee you an interview during your final year of undergraduate study (subject to places being available). 

Places on our PGCE are highly sought after, so we recommend you apply as early as possible once UCAS opens.

Terms and conditions:

What to expect on our SEND course

View What to expect on our SEND course video transcript

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4ED518

Introduction to SEND: from Exclusion to Inclusion

This module will explore the origins and development of special and inclusive education, identifying key legislation and policies. You will understand and evaluate the ‘inclusion debate’ and the impact of this on policy and practice in the UK. You will be introduced to the concepts ‘special educational needs’, ‘disability’ and ‘inclusion’ in a broad and critical way by examining a wide range of perspectives and discourses. You will also evaluate the policies, practices and attitudes that might enable the education system to become more inclusive.

You will be introduced to theoretical conceptualisations of SEND, including medical, social, biopsychosocial and political models of disability, which you will revisit in other modules. You will identify key policy developments, which are also covered in the module History of SEND: past to present.

Debates about segregated, integrated and inclusive schooling, the question of choice and alternative models of education will be explored and will research strategies which could be used to promote inclusive practice within a particular context, such as Early Years, primary, secondary or post-compulsory education, or supporting access to the community for adults.

There are two assignments for this module, one which is an essay relating to conceptualisations/theoretical perspectives on 'special educational needs' as they relate to diversity and inclusion. For the second assignment you will present an academic poster to the peer group, of two strategies which practitioners could use to promote inclusion, along with background research which underpins them.

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20 Credits

Code: 4ED519

Engaging with Employability Skills and Practice: Placement 1

This module looks at understanding how organisations and professionals work in a multi-agency environment, which adhere to clear legal, policy and employment expectations. These are needed to ensure that children and young people with SEND have their needs met and outcomes improved to ‘narrow the gap’ and ‘prepare for adulthood.

This module centres on a placement of 75 hours which aims to offer you an opportunity to develop an appreciation of a specific SEND context such as in Education, Health or Social Care setting and the working practices of professionals who work across the range of providers, public, private, charity and the voluntary sector.

This is a practical work placement related module that aims to support you in developing your practice. The module will enable you to become familiar with working in educational and other appropriate environments where they will work with specific needs and explore and develop effective working practices in special needs provision. Finally, the module will provide a basis from which to build evidence of effective working practices throughout the programme.

The assessment on this module consists of two separately assessed tasks, one reflective account of the placement through an academic video diary or blog which you will update as you develop skills and experience on the placement. The other assessment is a case study which examines how professionals work together in your placement."

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20 Credits

Code: 4ED520

Issues and Debates in SEND

This module invites you to acknowledge that not everyone who works in this area, necessarily agree on all issues relating to SEND. You will encounter a wide range of attitudes and beliefs associated with differing perspectives as you progress through the course, including those of practitioners and this module will allow you to not only enter the debate, but also allow you to make informed decisions about the nature of SEND.

One of the central issues is the philosophical debate over the aetiology of SEND, not about its existence, but rather over how to define it, the causes and the manifestation of behaviours associated with specific difficulties. You will identify one area such as ADHD, autism, chromosomal issues etc. and examine how genetics, neurology, psychology and risk factors contribute to the aetiology and development of this difficulty or disability.

You will also undertake a scrutiny of myths, issues and debates as they relate to differing beliefs surrounding the area of SEND. These competing arguments surround conceptualisations such as the use of vaccinations and the notion of a ‘cure’ for autism, why more boys are diagnosed with ADHD and autism, the role of medication in ADHD, screening for genetic issues such as Down’s syndrome, the role of diet and other risk factors in the manifestations of difficulties and difficulties.

There are two assessments for this module, the first involving an essay which examines the evidence for a multi-factorial cause (aetiology) of one disability or difficulty such as autism, Fragile X, ADHD or dyslexia.

The second assignment involves you choosing to discuss two issues or debates relating to SEND, such as the ones outlined above.

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20 Credits

Code: 4ED521

Comparative Perspectives in SEND

A child, young person or adult with SEND may live anywhere in the world. This module will explore international perspectives on SEND, including those from a Western and a non-Western cultur It focuses upon a comparative approach including legislation, policies, practices and issues such as attitudes, identification and inclusive/segregation practice. The focus is on how differing countries define, identify and respond to the needs of an individual with SEND, why such approaches predominate, the factors that influence this approach and the impact upon life outcomes.

Consequently, it is envisaged that after undertaking this module you will have a comprehensive grasp of international policy related to SEND, alongside an appreciation of how different countries interpret this in practice. This module will enable you to compare and contrast policy in England with policy in other nation states, exploring in particular the different manner in which these nation states have sought to resolve the ‘dilemma of difference’ (Norwich, 2007; Minnow, 2002) and how they have conceptualised ‘inclusion.

There are two assessments for this module. The first is a report which evaluates and interprets perspectives, debates, policies and legislative frameworks relating to SEND, for two countries. In the second assignment you will produce a Panopto presentation which could be used by a prospective family with a special need’s child who wish to relocate.

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20 Credits

Code: 4ED522

The History of SEND: Past to present

This module will provide you with an opportunity to consider the experiences of SEND throughout history. By exploring historical developments, you will be able to identify the development of social and political structures that have influenced the lives of people with additional needs and disability and will begin to consider how inclusion can be used as a mechanism for social justice.

It covers a range of key historical attitudes and discourses with regards to SEND and unpicks the key legislation and shifts in educational and societal approaches. Thus, disability is a social, cultural and political phenomenon across both time and place. You will explore the politics of disability identity along with the historical and current policy responses towards disability and special educational needs.

A second theme which is addressed in this module surrounds the representation of disability, using disabled images and language. Whether the representation is in print form, art, film or television, this theme explores how disability has been portrayed from the 20th century to the present day.

There are two assessments for this module. The first one examines how legislation, policy and terminology have underpinned current practice, including how models of disability have been changed over time. This assignment involves the production of a webpage. The second assessment focuses upon how disability has been reflected in the media and allows you to select a specific platform such as film, television, the written word etc.

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20 Credits

Code: 4ED523

Personal, Professional and Academic Skills for the SEND Practitioner

This module is designed to support your engagement with the programme along the three areas of personal, professional and academic knowledge, understanding and skills. It is the module in which you will begin to develop these three areas and revisit as you move through the programme. You will record evidence of your progress in a Personal Development Portfolio (e.g. Pebblepad) which you will use throughout the course to evidence skills, knowledge and experiences gained from the three years of the programme.

It aims to develop your engagement with your own personal and academic development as you make the step up to degree-level study within the University environment.

You will reflect on your, personal, professional and academic aspirations and engage in personal development planning to achieve these. Using diagnostic work and learning completed during your induction and the early part of semester 1, you will summarise and prioritise your own personal development objectives for their first year at university and design and execute a Short Developmental Learning programme which will enable you to achieve a selection of these objectives.

There are three assessments for this module, which involve the completing of several tasks which are evidenced within your Personal Development Portfolio.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED533

Exploring Cognition and Learning Needs

This module focuses upon the cognition and learning Needs within the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 (2005). Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation.

Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment. The continuum also includes Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), This affects one or more specific aspects of learning, encompassing a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

This module explores the relationship between cognition and learning, with appropriate theories and the concept of neurodiversity. The continuum of needs within this area are critically evaluated and you will identify one of the four categories to research in depth, with respect to how it impacts upon learning.

There is one assessment for this module, to produce a portfolio for a professional SEND practitioner, which focuses upon this area of need within the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 (2015).

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED534

Exploring Communication and Interaction Needs

Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every individual with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some, or all the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.

Children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are likely to have difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.
This module focuses specifically upon Communication and Interaction Needs and will cover Speech, Language and Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder (particularly with respect to communication and interaction issues).

There are two assessments for this module, the first one involves you writing a case study of a child, young person or adult with communication and interaction needs. The case study will critically analyse and critically evaluate how the individual presents communication and interaction needs, including consideration of the aetiology, characteristics and the impact on their life. The second assessment involves producing a learning strategy to support communication and interaction needs, including critically reviewing research into the theoretical underpinning and evidence base for the strategy.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED535

Exploring Sensory and Physical Needs

Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support.

Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties. Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.

This module will provide an opportunity to develop an informed understanding of issues around these needs and the potential barriers to learning, independence, employment and inclusion into society.  You will develop some understanding of different types of sensory or physical need and their causes and types.

There are two assessments for this module. The first involves the writing of an essay which critically analyses the complexities in the relationship between physical and sensory needs with respect to aetiology, diagnosis, characteristics, and impact on the life of an individual with these needs. The second assessment involves the production of a resource such as an interactive activity, leaflet or audio-visual content in which you identify one example of how professionals can facilitate and support the learning of an individual with either a physical or sensory need.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED536

Exploring Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs

This module starts with an overview of Adverse Childhood Experiences and how these may lead to complex trauma, how this may change the architecture of the brain. It seeks to give you an understanding of the theoretical explanations of the causes of SEMH needs, such as theories of development such as Freud and Erikson and the implications of these theories for healthy social, behavioural and emotional development.

A consideration of how characteristics within the profile of SEMH may influence a learner’s social skills, emotional well-being, behaviour and their resilience and the impact this may have upon their progress in life, is outlined. Terminology surrounding mental health, such as mental ill-health and wellbeing is explored from the perspective of continuum and the links to vulnerability and SEND is discussed.

In the second part of the module examples from the areas of attachment and attention disorders are explored.
There are two assessments for this module. In the first, you will write an essay that critically reviews a range of factors and responses which impact on the development of SEMH needs in children, young people or adults. In the second you will produce a 10-minute podcast which focuses upon a case study of an individual living with either attachment or attention disorder.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED537

Developing Employability Skills and Practice: Placement 2

This is the placement module in Stage 2. The placement will be undertaken in a different context than the one used in Stage 1. This module centres on a placement of 75 hours which aims to offer you an opportunity to develop an appreciation of a specific SEND context such as in Education, Health or Social Care setting and the working practices of professionals who work across the range of providers, public, private, charity and voluntary. The specific focus chosen by you will be in consultation with the module leader and the placement provider.

This is a practical work placement related module that aims which develops your skills, knowledge and understanding gained from the placement module in Stage 1 in order to support developing knowledge, understanding and skills related to employability. 

There are two assessments for this module, the first requires you to design, use and critically evaluate a resource or activity used within your placement. The second assessment involves reporting and reflecting on two critical incidences which occurred during your placement.

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20 Credits

Code: 5ED538

The SEND Professional: Roles and Contexts in SEND

The first part of the module provides you with an insight into the ever-changing world of the SEND practitioner. You will examine the role of the SEND specialist and support professionals in a range of settings and contexts. You will be critically evaluating the challenges faced by SEND practitioners and how the diverse needs of learners with SEND are met in practice. There will be an emphasis upon embedding theoretical underpinning to practice within a specific context.

The module will allow you to understand the many roles of the professional in a SEND context and extends the work covered in Engaging with Employability Skills and Practice: Placement 1. The focus of the second part of the module is related to the importance of Safeguarding, not only in relation to children, young and vulnerable adult but also the practitioners themselves. current Government policy and drivers are discussed including developments in Child Protection including the Climbie report and developments in Safeguarding including the Munro report.

There are two assessments for this module. In the first, you will select a theme or focus, and critically review research, policy and legal responsibilities associated with this. You will the devise a series of questions to use in an interview with a practitioner and critically analyse the response.

In the second assessment, you will use a Serious Case Review and critically evaluate how relevant safeguarding legislation and policies were or were not put into practice in this case, identifying learning points for the future SEND industry and/or work force.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED997

Dissertation: Literature Review

This module enables you to conduct a significant independent study, supported by a supervisor, and resulting in written outcomes putting into practice some of the knowledge and skills you have developed through modules at Levels 4, 5 and 6 informed by relevant interdisciplinary approaches.

You will be assigned a supervisor who will assist you in choosing your subject matter and approach, and who will provide advice, encouragement and formative feedback over the course of the writing process, as well as suggesting relevant reading material which may help inspire or critically locate the literature.Thus, you will undertake a systematic and detailed review of academic literature on a focused topic. Original data collection is not required.

In this module you will learn how to conduct a literature review and critique a topic of your choice which is relevant to your degree outcome. In the process you will also learn how to develop a search strategy for conducting an effective literature review and critique and to write about the implications of what you find for future theory and practice.
There is only one assessment for this module in which you submit a 10,000-word Dissertation on a topic of your choice, in consultation with a supervisor.

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40 Credits

Code: 6ED542

Concepts of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Research and Practice

This module will explore how definitions of mental health and responses to people with mental health problems have changed over time. You will acquire an understanding of medical, social and recovery models of mental ill health impairments, and critically evaluate them in the context of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice. Throughout the module, students will identify the range of stakeholders involved with mental health, including service users and carers, and explore their influence upon the development of policy, legislation and practice

Current government policy and guidance, such as the Mental Health Act (2007) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005), along with the implications for children and young people with learning disabilities who also experience mental health issues. You will consider the role of the various professionals in the field of mental health and their particular contribution to multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working. It also explores the relationship between mental health and Wellbeing.

There are two assessments for this module. The first involves an essay in which you will critically analyse the complex relationship between mental health and Wellbeing, in relation to SEND. The second assessment is a PowerPoint presentation with a commentary. The presentation should critically analyse and critically evaluate an intervention you have made/or could have made in an attempt to secure wellbeing within a specific SEND context."

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED543

Social Exclusion and SEND: Research and Practice

A feature of several degrees in special educational needs and disability is the focus on inclusion. This module allows you to examine the debates surrounding social exclusion of individuals with SEND and the importance of this to education, life chances and choices. We look at models of social exclusion such as Levitas (1998) and Silver (1994) which frame contested discourses.

The module examines the relationship between SEND and poverty, school exclusion and young offenders. It uses Government reports, policies and the view of think tanks and charities to respond to the question as to why individuals with disability and learning difficulties are more likely to be socially excluded. From the research, you will critically evaluate practice and offer suggestions on how the impact of social exclusion could be ameliorated for this group in society.

You will critically evaluate policies, interventions and strategies, for their effectiveness in mediating social exclusion and critically review the multilevel and multifactorial relationship between poverty, school exclusion and offending with respect to SEND and social exclusion.

There is one assessment for this module, which involves the writing of an essay which explores the relationship between social exclusion, SEND and the three areas discussed in the module.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED544

Creativity and Innovation in SEND: Research and Practice

The first part of the module provides you with an insight into the ever-changing world of the SEND industry and the range of interventions/innovations that support children, young people and adults with SEND. You will research a range of innovative approaches to meeting the needs of CYP with SEND from a range of disciplines including those from the creative arts and technologies. A critical approach to the evaluation of the theoretical underpinnings and the effectiveness for meeting needs, improving outcomes and efficacy, for children, young people and adults, will be examined

The module will allow you to understand the place of these different approaches across education, health, care and the community. Consideration will be given to role of technology in promoting independence, such as the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The use of ‘alternative’ interventions such as Forest Schools, sensory integration therapy, dance and movement therapies, play and art therapy-based interventions, will be discussed.

There is one assessment for this module. You will produce a 20-minute audio-visual presentation, similar to that found in a TED talk, which will involve a critical review of the importance of innovation and creativity in working with individuals with SEND, from a technological or Creative Arts perspective.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED545

SEND: Live Project

A ‘live brief’ is an assessment often utilised in curriculum areas such as the Creative Arts and Business. This module takes the ideas from their practice and sets it in a SEND context as a ‘live project’. The module is designed to build on the skills acquired at Level 4 and 5. You will gain real-world experience working to an external, ‘live’, client-led brief. You will research, project manage and produce to a professional level, an appropriate response to the client’s brief.

This module offers you the opportunity to engage and liaise with employers and clients in a professional capacity and to develop skills in project management and working to an external client’s briefs.

The assignment is to work with a SEND placement to develop a specific project with an end ‘product’ that will benefit the practice or the outcomes for an individual learner, or group of learners. You will usually be working or volunteering within a setting or have a close relationship with them, from which to identify and carry out the project. Examples can be developing new resources, training, advice and information, or revision of a scheme of work/activity.

There is one assessment for this module. This is to produce a portfolio which collates the steps involved, evidence for the completion of the project and critical evaluation and critical reflection on the process in fulfilling the project.
In the event that you cannot find a placement to provide a live project, you will be given a project that the module leader will provide.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED546

The Inclusive Classroom: Research and Practice

All classroom teachers and practitioners have a pivotal and obligated role in ensuring inclusion fulfilling the principles that education is for all, addressing social justice agenda and enable a workforce that aspires and practices best practices for inclusion. This module is designed to support and inform those of you are seeking a teaching career supporting and preparing children and young people with SEND to take their place in society and preparing for adulthood.

This module allows you to critically reflect on a range of inclusive interventions that are available for all mainstream and special education providers and to provide person-centred approaches to meeting needs and promoting independence.

In this module you will explore the principles related to teaching and learning in both formal and informal settings and identify factors which might marginalise some learners. You will consider the concept of inclusive education and its relationship to broader concepts of social inclusion.

In relation to the curriculum, there will be a focus upon the four areas of need: cognition and learning, communication and interaction, physical and or/sensory needs and social, emotional and mental health needs.

There are two assessments for this module. The first is an essay which critically analyses and critically evaluates a curriculum, with respect to inclusivity. The second involves taking an activity based upon a curriculum subject and area of need, you will plan, deliver and critically evaluate a 15 minute micro-teach, to your peer group.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED547

Identity, Inclusion and Living with Disability: Research and Practice

The aim of this module is to introduce you to theories of intersectionality as an approach to exploring identities and social justice as it relates to SEND. Intersectionality is premised upon understandings of social locations as central to people’s lived experiences as influenced by the interaction of categories such as gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, disability/ability, migration status, etc.

Intersectionality theorises how forms of oppression and privilege such as patriarchy, racism, colonialism, homophobia and ableism arise. Intersectionality foregrounds the achievement of social justice through social processes, redistribution and equity.

It is also important that SEND practitioners listen to the voice of people living with disability, the so-called ‘lived experience’. This module will also allow you to critically explore the lived experiences of individuals living with a disability(ies) and examine how their life stories relate to and underpin the challenges and dilemmas faced with respect to issues such as identity and inclusion both in education, employment and life in general.

There are two assessments for this module, the first requires you to negotiate with the module leader, your own response and assessment in relation to how intersectionality impacts upon disability. In the second assessment, you will read two existing published narratives of two individuals living with a disability(ies) produce a report which critically compares their lived experience through a hermeneutic phenomenological lens. The narratives could auto(biographies) of individuals with learning difficulties, mental health or physical disabilities.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED548

Autism: Research and Practice

This module covers understandings of autism and its causes, combined with evidence-based interventions and strategies to support communication, learning and relationship building. Educational practice for creating inclusive practice are also discussed. You will be supported in critically analysing research, literature and prevailing thinking about inclusive education and pupils with autism.

This module offers you an opportunity to understand differing perspectives about how and when autism is identified. The module engages with the debates and controversies that exist in the field including: 'appropriate' educational provision; identity; and evidence-based practice. In addition, you will learn about the experiences and views of people on the autism spectrum, including the neurodiversity movement.

Importantly you will investigate the challenges faced in adulthood by people on the autism spectrum. It will provide you with current knowledge and ideas about the autism spectrum, allowing you to develop skills in identifying, assessing and meeting the needs of children, young people and adults in a range of contexts.

There are two assessments for this module. The first is focused upon a report from a case study of an autistic child, young person or adult. The second assessment involves a presentation to critically review the evidence base surrounding interventions to support autistic individuals.

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20 Credits

Code: 6ED549

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties: Research and Practice

This module identifies how a range of professionals and practitioners work with children, young people and adults with complex needs. Most learners with SLD/PMLD use specialist services such as special schools or colleges but some use inclusive services in nurseries, mainstream schools or community education.

The term profound and multiple learning difficulties refers to what is described as mental retardation, severe developmental disabilities or severe intellectual disabilities elsewhere in the world. The module covers the most disabled children and adults in our society. It is a useful module to take if you are considering working with children, young people or adults, who may need support.

There is one assessment for this module, to produce a report which critically evaluates and critically reviews research and practice surrounding working with PMLD individuals.

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20 Credits

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.

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Campus Tours

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Virtual Open Day

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How you will learn

Throughout the degree, you’ll be supported and encouraged to develop your capacity to evaluate, analyse and critically engage in the field of SEND, drawing on a wide range of learning, teaching and assessment activities. As you progress, you’ll be expected to undertake increasing responsibility for independent self-directed study, drawing on the range of resources available to you. At all levels, you are invited to engage in e-learning opportunities.

How you'll be assessed

There are no exams. You’ll be assessed through small group work, individual peer presentations, completion of directed tasks and drafting of tasks, tutorial discussions and coursework.

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Outdoor Learning Space

Learn how to apply education in an outdoor setting, using nature to improve the personal, social and technical skills of children.

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Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Trevor Cotterill

Trevor Cotterill
Programme leader

Trevor is Programme Leader for BA (Hons) and FdA Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). His research interests include the etiology of autism and ADHD, issues and debates in the area of SEND and working with individuals with complex needs.

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Entry requirements

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,045 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree

If you already have a foundation degree and wish to top up to a full BA (Hons) in Special Educational Needs and Disability, you should apply directly to the University.


Our BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs and Disability degree prepares you for a wide range of careers in the SEND sector, including family liaison, advocacy, inclusion support, teaching assistance, mentoring, adult education and careers services.

You could also take your skills and knowledge to the next level by progressing to postgraduate study in areas such as health, psychological services and social care.

Please note that this course does not lead to Qualified Teacher Status. However, if you’d like to train to be a teacher, you will be guaranteed an interview for our PGCE Primary if you meet the entry requirements. 

You could also apply to study our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training).

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

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.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

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