Course summary

Our FdA Professional Practice in Special Educational Needs and Disability is designed for people already working in this field, who want to develop their careers. If you are working or regularly volunteering in a school, nursery, residential care or another professional setting, supporting children, young people or adults with special educational needs and disabilities, this programme will enable you to study for a Foundation Degree whilst continuing the work role you love.

This course is typically taught, one afternoon/evening session per week at Grantham College, the course combines college-based learning with your ongoing professional practice and some independent study. You will increase your knowledge and understanding, and develop academic skills to enhance you career and/or move on to higher study.

Please note that this course is taught at Grantham College.

Key facts



UCAS code



2 years

Mode of study


Start date


Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


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About this course

This course will be of interest to experienced practitioners working in educational settings with children, young people and/or adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The course offers an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge, understanding and skills and widen practitioners’ career opportunities in the education sector. These might include for example, teaching assistant, higher level or specialist learning support roles, or leadership responsibilities in special education settings, residential/respite care, or working with individuals and/or families in the public, voluntary or independent sector. Graduates of this programme may progress to an undergraduate degree (such as a BA (Hons) SEND and Inclusion) by further study and post graduate opportunities such as initial teacher training.

This foundation degree is designed to increase and develop practitioners’ personal, academic and professional skills. The content includes knowledge and understanding of the complex relationships that learners experience within education settings, and practitioner roles. Specialist knowledge and skills include meeting individual needs, inter-agency working, inclusion and supporting learning, teaching and assessment.

What you will study

Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules:

This module provides an induction to higher education (HE) set within the context of your own learning and supports the development of academic literacies.

The module provides underpinning foundations for formal learning in the HE context and establishes the principles of professional learning in the context of the workplace. The module content includes understanding the self as a learner. It introduces theoretical knowledge, study skills and techniques. These will enable you to engage effectively with their foundation degree and provide a solid basis for learning that will be developed and extended as the foundation degree progresses.

Key concepts in this module include professional ethics, self-reflection, time management strategies and management of information, including accurate citation and referencing techniques. It will be assessed by a portfolio of coursework.

This module enables you to relate theoretical perspectives on learning to your everyday practice, supporting the learning of children, young people and/or adults in professional contexts. The module will encourage you to make connections between theoretical understanding and your day-to-day work, the module promotes the application of theory to practice, as a fundamental skill for you, both as a Higher Education (HE) learner and an effective Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) practitioner.

The module assessment involves an oral presentation, to demonstrate and develop students’ emerging communication skills and techniques.

This module will explore the professional field of Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (SENDI), and the drivers, barriers and affordances to inclusive practice. It underpins all subsequent modules at Levels 4 and 5.

The module will raise your awareness of the broader contexts of your day-to-day practice, by exploring educational and social models of disability and inclusion, with reference to national and international social policy. Content includes over-arching philosophies of education and rights-based perspectives on inclusivity. It will stimulate your critical thinking through the examination and deconstruction of surrounding legislative and pedagogical frameworks. You will be enabled to reflect upon your own experiences and perceptions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to make secure connections between the module content and your own approach to professional practice.

The module is assessed by coursework and practical assignments which will each provide opportunities for students to develop your academic and communication skills.

This module will challenge you to consider how diverse, individual needs are identified, assessed, and supported in practice.

The module content examines a range of diverse needs, their causes , and the associated implications for learning. The module will enable you to extend your knowledge and understanding of the ways in which diverse needs can be supported. You will be encouraged to think critically about effective practice in a range of diverse settings. You will draw upon your own professional experience and current practice to evaluate approaches to meeting individual needs, in the professional setting.

The module is assessed by coursework (essay) evaluating assessment methods for SEND

This module provides an opportunity for you to evaluate the principles of effective inclusion, when applied directly to your day-to-day practice.

Teaching and learning in this module will provide a framework for a work-based project in which you will construct a case-study to demonstrate effective identification, assessment and support for individual needs, in practice. This will include structured approaches to planning, teaching, learning and assessment in relation to the chosen case (for example, the Education and Healthcare Plan (EHCP)). The module requires you to undertake your own extended reading and investigation according to the case you choose, and to cite your sources appropriately.

The project requires you to demonstrate awareness of professional ethics and boundaries in reporting a specific case. This is a transferable skill in terms of academic development and employability and provides a basis for the future demands of the foundation degree

This module provides an introduction to the collaborative approaches needed to support the health, welfare, safety and safeguarding needs of children, young people and/or adults with SEND.

It considers effective collaboration with a range of colleagues, families, and/or relevant, specialist professionals and external agencies, as a means to promote positive outcomes for individuals with SEND. The module promotes emerging critical thinking, by exploring the strengths of effective collaboration and potential limitations/barriers.

The module content encourages you to apply core professional values and principles to your own practical work context. Thus, it aims to stimulate your experiential learning through the practical application of theoretical learning to real-work situations.

This module will introduce you to a range of social, emotional and well-being difficulties that might impact upon individuals at different stages of their learning journey.

The module investigates risks to learners’ psychological health and wellbeing and examines strategies for identification and support. The module emphasises the need for practitioners to develop a reflective understanding of the nature of mental well-being and interventions that may be provided.

This module will challenge you to reflect critically on issues associated with social and emotional development, which can lead to mental health concerns. Topics might include, for example, attachment disorders, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress. The module explores causes of mental health problems e.g., neurological and or environmental effects.

The assessment tasks will require you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the module’s core concepts, in relation to practice, thus developing the application of newly acquired learning to practical situations.

This module enables you to focus closely on your own day-to-day practice. It is tailored to your professional contexts and enables you to align your academic study to your own specialism, interest, or career ambitions, through a work-based project. You will select a category of need as appropriate to your own professional practice. You will carry out a detailed investigation of the surrounding social and political contexts, support structures and evidence-based approaches to pedagogy, teaching, learning and assessment for this category of need. This is likely to involve challenging popular assumptions surrounding the category of need, with reference to robust sources.

Teaching and learning on this module provides a framework for you to conduct your own project to investigate and develop interventions and support strategies that can be applied and evaluated in professional practice. The module content will exemplify the interrogation of rhetoric and reality in SEND, model the sourcing of appropriate literature, and provide a starting point for you to extend your own reading, knowledge and understanding in a chosen category of need. The module considers the nature of intervention strategies and their application within surrounding curriculum frameworks, as appropriate.

The project will challenge you to plan, design, implement and evaluate resources and strategies to support learning and to reflect critically on the practitioner role in meeting learners’ needs in the SEND setting.

The assessment tasks enable you to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and apply it to their professional practice, through a series of tasks which stretch and showcase your developing academic and professional skills appropriately, at level 5.

This module takes a global perspective and challenges you to consider approaches to SEND in international contexts. The content will re-visit international frameworks for SEND and inclusion introduced in PPSN40323 Understanding the policy and practice of SEND and inclusion and offer examples of international policy and practice in SEND. You will be asked to compare and contrast a range of international examples and to analyse and critically evaluate these in the context of established theories and principles of education, equality and inclusivity.

The module stimulates critical thinking and encourages you to engage with key questions and debates that occur nationally, internationally and globally, in the field of SEND.

The assessment tasks target graduate attributes and academic skills development in information literacy, critical thinking and global citizenship, as well as stretching students’ broader knowledge of SEND and inclusion as global phenomena.

This module introduces you to research as an aspect of your academic development and professional practice and offers an opportunity for you to extend and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding in a specific aspect of SEND practice. Teaching and learning is delivered through a combination of whole group lectures, small group and independent work, supported by in-person and/or online tutorials. The VLE will be an integral part of the teaching and learning in this module, providing resources and signposting relevant reading and suggested study tasks. This balanced combination of classroom-based teaching with independent study provides a basis for more independent study at level 6. The module content provides you with a knowledge base from which you might begin to engage with appropriately authorised and supervised practitioner research, in your workplace setting.

The module content explores the principles of practitioner research and the ways in which it can be used to inform day-to-day practice. You will also consider how you might investigate your own emerging questions further, through practitioner research. This will include an introduction to primary and secondary data sources and approaches to analysis.

The module content enables you to begin to engage with research design, for example, research questions, different research paradigms, approaches, tools and techniques. The module content emphasises ethical principles such as consent, working with gatekeepers, confidentiality/anonymity, and appropriate handling of data. It will begin to explore approaches to analysis.

The assessment tasks for this module provide an opportunity for you to practice emerging research skills, for example conducting your own literature review, formulating a research question, selecting appropriate tools, designing a research project, and demonstrating ethical awareness, for example through a research proposal.

Entry requirements

Typically, applicants should have a minimum of one year’s experience in a relevant, professional setting working directly with children, young people and/or adults with SEND.

Applicants must have ongoing access to practice with a minimum of 12 hours a week for the duration of the foundation degree (accumulating to 336 hours per year of study) in a relevant role, either as an employee or a volunteer. Written support will be required, from the head teacher/workplace manager in which the applicant works or volunteers. As regular employees/volunteers, students will be expected to satisfy the standard DBS requirements of the work sector.

Typically, as a minimum, students should hold a relevant Level 2 qualification or equivalent in a cogent subject/vocational area. This might include, for example, childcare and education, supporting teaching and learning in schools or health and social care.

How you will be taught

The programme delivery structure is designed to facilitate studying alongside employment and the modules is a mixture of 15 and 30 credit modules at L4 and all 30 credit modules at level 5.


Assessment is through a variety of methods including essays, presentations, journals and portfolios depending on the module content.

Careers & Further study

The course will provide you with opportunities to develop your theoretical knowledge and understanding in this subject area which when applied to practice enhances your professional role. Assessments align with a transference of taught elements to rehearsal in the workplace.

On successful completion of this course you may be able to progress on to a BA (Hons) Degree.

Future careers include:

  • Primary or special school teaching
  • SEND Classroom Assistant
  • Youth Work
  • Social Care Setting
  • Private Sector Educational Providers

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