School of Education

PG Cert Education: National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination (SENCO)

PG Cert Part-time Distance Learning 1 year

As a student on this course, you will be gain a qualification that will strengthen your professional development and raise the profile of SENCOs and SEN activities in schools. 

As a student on this course, you will be gain a qualification that will strengthen your professional development and raise the profile of SENCOs and SEN activities in schools. 

PG Cert
Start date(s)
20 May 2024
Course specifications
Course length
Part-time Distance Learning (1 year)
Campus location
University: Online Distance Learning
School of Education
UCAS points calculator

Why choose this course?

As a student on this course, you will gain a qualification that will strengthen your professional development and raise the profile of SENCOs and SEN activities in schools, colleges and early years settings. The Postgraduate Certificate enables you to gain the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCo), which is mandatory for newly appointed SENCOs and which needs to be completed within three years of appointment. It is also a valuable option for Continued Professional Development (CPD) for teachers aspiring to move into a SENCO role, and for experienced SENCOs. The course allows you to gain 60 credits at level 7 which can be used towards a Master’s degree. The programme is part-time, fully online and delivered in three modules.

7SN001 SEN Co-ordination in Context

Within this module you will explore key theories and practices associated with SEN and inclusive provision, which places the child or young person at the centre of the educational process. By investigating barriers to learning and exploring strategies for improving outcomes, you will develop your understanding of every child’s right to educational opportunity within an inclusive learning environment. You will explore historical and current debates, enabling you to critically analyse statutory and regulatory frameworks such as the SEN Code of Practice. The module emphasises the development of a reflective approach to your professional development, in which you will critique and apply concepts of inclusive practice to your own role as a SENCO.

7SN002 Improving SEN Outcomes through Evidence-Based Practice

This module examines evidence-based practice and considers how this is utilised in the SENCO role, including evaluating interventions, monitoring progress, and enhancing outcomes. It provides you with opportunities to explore and develop your understanding of evidence bases that support practices in your own (or other) schools or services. An understanding of the various research approaches and their associated methodologies will also be introduced to enable you to undertake effective information seeking, analysis, and presentation of both quantitative and qualitative data. The module will also challenge you to develop your role as a SENCO by critically evaluating evidence-based practice and the impact of interventions in your own spheres of work or in another setting.

7SN003 Leading and Developing SEN Provision

This module focuses on the SENCO as a leader and leadership will be emphasised with a focus on coordination of provision and partnership working. You will explore strategies for effective implementation of SEN processes within a broad context of national policy and legislation, in relation to inclusive education. You will be able to reflect on your ability to lead, develop, and, where necessary, challenge senior leaders, colleagues, and governors in relation to teaching and learning, in your work setting. You will explore partnership working and learn the ways it can support person-centred approaches to supporting learners and their families.

The course is also designed to help you develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in your studies with the University of Wolverhampton at postgraduate level. We value and promote your individual engagement, progression, and success, as all our staff will recognise and celebrate your unique learning needs.  This degree sits within an exciting range of Postgraduate Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion courses we offer within the Institute of Education.

What's unique about this course?

  • A fully distanced learning course designed specifically for working practitioners. The majority of your study time can be organised to fit around your professional and personal commitments, with weekly live seminar sessions held outside the school day.
  • Accredited with NASEN, the course fulfils the mandatory training requirements for SENCOs
  • Three intakes per year (October, February and May). You will study one module per term, timed carefully to align with a typical school academic year.

What happens on the course?

The course has been designed as a distance learning course to enable you, as a working practitioner, to access level 7 training and development with online learning materials and guidance to support you with your studies. However, studying remotely does not mean you will study alone. For each module you will meet as an online community and in small peer groups for teaching sessions. You will also be assigned an academic tutor to answer any questions, provide feedback on progress, and receive general advice.

At the University of Wolverhampton there is a range of teaching, learning, and assessment activities to help you achieve successfully on your course. Your sessions will have formative learning opportunities and formative feedback from your tutors which will help you prepare for your final marked assessment (summative assessment). You will also be provided with feedforward written and/or oral feedback on your summative assessments that will help you develop your academic skills as you progress through your course. The assessments have been designed to include setting-based tasks which enable you to integrate your current practice in your role as a SENCO to your academic learning on this course.

Alongside the written assessments of an essay, report, and reflective account, you will also be required to submit of a self–assessment of your learning and progress towards meeting the National College of Teaching and Learning (NCTL) NASENCo detailed learning outcomes. This assessment will be developed throughout the course across the three modules, and will be assessed by pass or fail. It is an important requirement to show how the outcomes of each module have contributed to your professional development as a SENCO against the nationally prescribed learning outcomes. This self-assessment of your learning and progress is a useful tool to show your employers or future employers how your knowledge and skills as a SENCO have developed and also how you can further develop your journey beyond successful completion of the course.

All your modules will offer opportunities for you to interact, and to demonstrate practice, application, exploration, critique, dialogue, and analysis of theory. In each of your modules you will be provided with a structure of scheduled learning and teaching activities to enable you to fully engage and achieve specified learning outcomes. These include:

  • Active contribution to online lectures, group activities, including critical debate in online discussions.
  • Online support through individual and group tutorials
  • Individual and group research activities using a range of sources, reading of the literature relating to issues raised in lectures and through independent research
  • Additional online consolidation activities
  • Guided reading
  • Asynchronous discussion forums
  • Preparation for scheduled learning and teaching activities
  • Preparation/Completion of assessment tasks
  • Revision tasks
  • Non-synchronous webinars
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Visits to other workplaces to gain first-hand experience of provision in other settings
  • Mentor support - from within the school or from an experienced SENCO
  • Professional development portfolio - to record evidence of learning and experience.

For each module you will complete an assignment of 3000 words and demonstrate that you have met the NASENCO Learning Outcomes (around 2000 words per module). Our assessments have been designed to be relevant and supportive of your role as SENCO and to help you demonstrate master’s level learning criteria. You are encouraged to work on assignments that have a ‘real world’ focus and that will have an impact in your setting.

Potential Career Paths

A range of employability skills is built into this programme in order that you develop and refine attributes that will be beneficial to you in the workplace and your role as a SENCO, such as leadership, using critical thinking, and becoming a reflective practitioner. You will also develop and consolidate a range of employability and transferable skills, including sharing information, presenting information, and digital literacy. Employers are also interested in the broader skills you acquire, such as:

  • Written communication, developed through essays and reports
  • Oral communication, gained through reasoned debates during seminars and presentations
  • The ability to work as part of a team, through collaborative group work
  • Research and analytical skills with the ability to judge and evaluate information
  • Organisational and time management skills, by prioritising tasks to ensure that academic, social and work commitments are completed on time
  • Negotiation, informally with peers and formally with staff
  • Problem-solving
  • IT skills

This Postgraduate Certificate in Education enables new SENCOs to achieve the National Award for SENCOs within three years of appointment, which is a mandatory requirement. This programme is worth 60 level 7 (Master’s Level) credits and is equivalent to one third of a Master’s degree. Once you have completed the NASENCo award, you can transfer your credits into the MA Education. This programme will also help to prepare you for progression to senior leadership roles within schools and settings.

Additional Information

Everything you need to know about this course!

The University of Wolverhampton has a long and proud history of working with teachers and practitioners at all levels of education. All of our departments are highly rated for their provision, and proud to be known for their hugely employable graduates with excellent long-term prospects.

Special Needs and Inclusion Studies is an ever-changing area of study. At the University of Wolverhampton, your teaching team are well qualified and experienced tutors with expertise and research in the field of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion. They are constantly developing different approaches to learning and teaching, with varied and challenging assessment methods and ongoing curriculum development and innovation. Your teaching staff at the University of Wolverhampton are active researchers and these interests contribute to high quality teaching and learning that you will experience.

The Library will provide you with academic skills support via the Skills for Learning programme. You can attend workshops online or ask for one-to-one help on a range of skills such as academic writing and referencing. 1:1 online Skills appointments are also available.

The University Student Support website offers advice on a variety of matters (careers, counselling, student union advice, etc.) You can also access these services by booking appointment with the SU, careers, counselling services, etc.

Course Specific Support

  • You will be allocated a Personal Tutor
  • Specific assessment support will be factored into each module.
  • If you have disabilities and/or specific learning difficulties you can gain a wide range of support from Student Support and Well Being team at the university.

Higher Education academic skills will be embedded throughout the curriculum.

  • Critically evaluate current issues in educational contexts and demonstrate insights in special education needs, disability, and inclusive practice.
  • Reflect critically on the SENCO role, leadership, and the significant institutional, sector-based, and societal contextual factors shaping education policy and practice around inclusion and equity.
  • Appraise knowledge and understanding of major theories, concepts, and established principles based on recent and contemporary educational research relevant to the SENCO role.
  • Develop, monitor, and evaluate systems and strategies that improve outcomes for learners identified as having SEN.
  • Identify and reflect on techniques to be applied to their own research or advanced scholarship in the field of SEN.

Location Mode Fee Year
Home Part-time Distance Learning £2665 per year 2022-23
Home Part-time Distance Learning £2798 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time Distance Learning £2798 per year 2023-24
International Part-time Distance Learning £2665 per year 2022-23
International Part-time Distance Learning £2798 per year 2023-24
International Part-time Distance Learning £2798 per year 2023-24

These fees relate to new entrants only for the academic year indicated for entry onto the course, any subsequent years study may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.

Applicants must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS or QTLS, including completion of the induction period) and must provide their DfE number.


Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS - appropriate for ages 0-5 only)

As this course has been designed to enable participants to fulfil this strategic role, all applicants must have full support of their school leadership team and be employed in and have access to both an appropriate setting and relevant school/college/early years based experiences.

Postgraduate Online Loyalty Discount :

You can get a 10% discount on an taught postgraduate course if you’re a University of Wolverhampton Graduate progressing from an undergraduate programme to an online postgraduate programme, where both courses are University of Wolverhampton Awards.

There is no time limit on how long ago you completed your degree as long as this is your first Masters level qualification.

The discount applies to the first attempt at each year only (so does not apply if you have to retake any modules). Students who receive a loyalty discount are not entitled to any further tuition discount or bursary. For full terms and conditions click here.


If you are paying for the fees yourself then the fees can be paid in 3 instalments: November, January and April. More information can be found by clicking here.

Sponsored - Your employer, embassy or organisation can pay for your Tuition fees:

Your employer, embassy or organisation agrees to pay all or part of your tuition fees; the University will refer to them as your sponsor and will invoice them for the appropriate amount.

We must receive notification of sponsorship in writing as soon as possible, and before enrolment, confirming that the sponsor will pay your tuition fees.

Financial Hardship:

Students can apply to the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund for help with course related costs however this cannot be used for fees or to cover general living costs.

Charitable Funding:

You might also want to explore the possibility of funding from charitable trusts; please see the following websites Association of Charitable Foundations, Directory of Social Change or Family Action. Most charities and trust funds offer limited bursaries targeted to specific groups of students so you will need to research whether any of them are relevant to your situation.

You can find more information on the University’s Funding, cost, fee and support pages.


01902 32 22 22



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