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.

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 or working in a related professional role you can also apply. To achieve the National Award you must have QTS/QTLS, and if not it may be possible for you to achieve the PgCert Inclusive Education (60 masters level credits).
  • 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

  • Programme overview
  • 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 recommended study days (four total) which you will individually agree with your own organisation. The modules are designed to explicitly relate to the DfE SENCO Learning Outcomes.
    Core modules
    • PGSEN701 SEN Organisational Contexts

      This is the first of two modules concerned with special educational needs co-ordination in schools. The general aim of this module and the second module together is to equip SEN co-ordinators to have the knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out this role effectively. Successful completion of both modules alongside meeting the SENCO National Learning Outcomes leads to the National Award for SEN Coordination.

    • PGSEN700 SENCO Award TDA Portfolio

      This is the SENCO Award National Learning Outcomes evidence document concerned with SEN coordination in schools. This module underpins both the first and second SENCO Award modules and provides the basis for SEN co-ordinators to have the knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out their role effectively. Successful completion of both modules alongside meeting the SENCO National Learning Outcomes leads to the National Award for SEN Coordination.

    • PGSEN702 Leading on Teaching and Learning

      This is the second of two linked modules concerned with special educational needs co-ordination in schools. The general aim of this module and the second module together is to equip SEN co-ordinators to have the knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out this role effectively. Successful completion of both modules alongside meeting the SENCO National Learning Outcomes leads to the National Award for SEN Coordination.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

PgCert National Award for Special Education Needs Coordination 4162

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 also 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 an organisational context which allows you to evidence the National Learning Outcomes, and will need the support of your headteacher. If you are not a SENCO you may not be able to achieve all of the SENCO learning outcomes in the first instance. If this is the case you should discuss this with the programme leader.

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, costs and funding

PgCert The National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination

Home/EU (part time) International (part time per 10 credits)  Islands**** (part time per 10 credits)
£2,200 per year £750 £750

****‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


How to apply

To apply for the programme please complete the application form and e-mail it to us at pg-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk  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.