Plymouth Institute of Education

PgCert The National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination

This successful one year training programme is designed to support the professional development of special educational needs coordinators (SENCOS). Gain 60 credits at masters level and join the hundreds of SENCOs in the South West Consortium who have already gained the award. Discover how you can get involved and make a positive impact on practice, and the achievements of schools and their pupils.

1 year
Course type

Key features

  • Take the opportunity to undertake this Department for Education (DfE) approved post-graduate qualification which must be achieved by teachers new to the role of SENCO. If you are an experienced SENCO, you can also gain the qualification.
  • Benefit from an award offered through the South West Consortium consisting of Plymouth University and the University of Exeter, working in partnership with the local authorities of Bournemouth, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Plymouth, Poole and Somerset. 
  • Take part in a programme which runs in Bodmin, Plymouth, Exeter, Ilminster, and Dorchester. The local tutors are mainly Special Educational Needs (SEN) advisory teachers and experienced SENCOs, working in conjunction with university tutors.
  • Gain experience working with a tutor allocated to you, offering extensive expertise, knowledge and experience and high quality local personal tuition.
  • Draw on support from a professional learning community through face-to-face and virtual learning support and resources.  Access valuable university facilities and online resources. 
  • Gain 60 masters level credits which can be used towards a masters degree (e.g. MA Education Special Educational Needs).

Course details

  • Year 1
  • You'll complete two modules (each worth 30 masters level credits) which include a total of six days attendance at sessions in your local authority location as well as four school focused/research days. Each module consists of three full days taught sessions and two study days. The modules are designed to explicitly relate to the DfE SENCO Learning Outcomes.
    Core modules
    • PGSEN702 Leading on Teaching and Learning

    • PGSEN701 SEN Organisational Contexts

    • PGSEN700 SENCO Award TDA Portfolio

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

The SENCO programme is open to you if you are a teacher who is not a SENCO but who has an interest in the role of SENCO and leadership of special educational needs.

It is also open to you if you are a qualified teacher in the role of a SENCO.

If you are a teacher and are not a SENCO, you must have access to pupils with special educational needs and will need the support of their headteacher. If you are not a SENCO you may not be able to achieve all of the SENCO learning outcomes in the first instance.

For further information please contact Mike Murphy.

If you are applying with overseas qualifications please can you check their compatibility with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is 6.5.  

Fees & funding

For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages.

How to apply

To apply for the programme please complete the application form detailed below and e-mail it to us at  or telephone 01752 585858.

If you are a SENCO in Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay or Somerset and would like general information about the programme, please contact the Plymouth University programme leader Mike Murphy

If you are a SENCO in Bournemouth, Dorset or Poole and would like general information about the programme, please contact the University of Exeter programme leader Hazel Lawson.


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Applying for postgraduate study

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Telephone: +44 1752 585858


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