Why study this course

Opportunity to combine two important disciplines and work with other like minded students.

Opportunities to study additional short courses which will enhance your skills when working with young children and their families

A free place on one of our preparing for teaching courses as part of your degree. Completion of the course will also guarantee you an interview on one of our highly sought after PGCE courses

Opportunity to undertake placements in related settings.

Course summary

The BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (SENDI) & Early Childhood Studies joint programme strongly supports an understanding of the crucial 0-8 stage of child development through a focus on individual needs and the broader sociocultural context of young children and their families. This is particularly significant in the light of the current government agenda to reduce child inequalities; prioritising prevention and early intervention; and building and strengthening local and cross sector services.

Key facts


BA (Hons)

UCAS code



3 years

Mode of study


Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


Apply for this course

When you're ready to apply, the route you take will depend on your personal circumstances and preferred method of study. Click the relevant button below to start your application journey.

About this course

The BA (Hons) SENDI and ECS degree will provide opportunities for you to develop an understanding of important concepts such as multiagency working and different categories of need, in addition to offering opportunities for critical, reflective and evidence-based practice in order that graduates might become advocates of change.

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to support families and young children in a range of education related settings and through practice with young children and their families, you will be encouraged to explore your own personal, professional and ethical values.

This new programme will support you if you have aspirations to be an Early Help Worker attached to Children’s Centres, Early Years Practitioners working with young children and families in specialist and mainstream provision, charity roles (paid or volunteering) such as care support, respite and play workers.

What you will study

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

This module will introduce you to the field of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion (SENI). The module will look at educational and social models of disability within schools and across global and national levels of society. The impacts of competing perspectives and changing legislation will be discussed and critiqued. You will be expected to reflect upon your own experiences and perceptions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The introduction and induction to study skills will be integral to this module including engagement with VLE.

This module will focus upon holistic approaches in education/care/social learning which enhance social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Consideration will be given to how related theory informs approaches and their significance in meeting individual needs. You will critically analyse collaborative practice (e.g., parents, professionals) in supporting holistic approaches. Competing and complementary psychological and behavourist theories (e.g., Piaget, Bruner, Kolb, Maslow) and social learning frameworks (e.g. Freire, Dewey, Steiner) will be explored. You will compare holistic approaches with more traditional approaches to development and learning, deepening their understanding of the relationship between theories and practice. Discussion and analysis of how children and Young people are supported in current practice will be undertaken including reflection upon the value of multi-agency/stakeholder collaboration.

This module will explore how young children learn from a range of perspectives. You will be introduced to constructivism, behaviourism, social learning theory and humanism, and explore how these may shape our understanding of how children learn. The module will also begin to broadly explore typical development in relation to the specific areas of children’s development and consider how theories of learning can be applied in practice to support young children’s learning on enabling environments. You will explore what is meant by ‘enabling environments. The module will cover aspects of the environment, both indoors and out, underpinned by theoretical understanding of differing provision. The role of the adult will be examined in relation to the environment provided. This will include developing an understanding of adult led, child led, and child-initiated provision, and the role of observation and assessment. The rights of the child will be introduced, focused on article 12, critically exploring how the voice of the child is heard when developing provision. You will develop a range of graduate competencies, including an understanding of the practitioner’s role in advocating for young children’s rights and participation; understanding the relevant frameworks, and the role of observation, listening and planning in supporting children’s early learning; as well as evidencing aspects of professional development.

This module explores policy, provision, and practice both historically and currently, providing you with the opportunity to understand what shifts and shapes early years policy and the subsequent impact of policy on practice.

The module presents an historical overview of the development of early childhood provision using the lens of social and political discourse and, through an exploration of the work of key thinkers and philosophers who have influenced current policy and provision. The module includes a study of historical practice and provision for young children and covers the work of early social, educational and health reformers. You will also examine the work of more contemporary thinkers and will be introduced to some alternative education styles.

You will be encouraged to question underlying philosophies and the social and political motivations for shaping policy when creating provision for young children. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own personal philosophy and how this might have been influenced, and how this may subsequently influence your own practice.

During this module, you will have the opportunity to develop your graduate competencies with regards to your understanding of the relevant frameworks, and how these are applied to practice, as well as developing your understanding of policy.

This module will build and expand upon issues considered in Level 4 module, From Excluded to Included: A Century of Change. You will critically consider effective practice in a range of diverse settings and demonstrate increased knowledge and understanding of how individual needs are met. This module will also extend understanding of ideologies with reference to human rights of inclusion. Exploration and consideration of differing international practices will be undertaken. You will examine a range of diverse needs, considering cause and impact upon learning supported by up to 48 hours placement. By the end of the module, you will be able to reflect upon the impact of legislation and practice in meeting the learning needs of a range of disabilities. This module will contribute to an understanding of leading and managing (Level 6).

This module will enable you to understand and critically examine differing theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to qualitative and quantitative research. You will be introduced to a range of research methods used within, but not exclusive to, the Social Sciences, primarily focusing on research in SENDI. You will develop skills in collecting, analysing and treating data. You will identify different research methods and develop skills in applying these methods for your future independent study.

In this module you will explore the concept of ‘childhood’ from philosophical, sociological and psychological perspectives. Common assumptions about children and childhood will be identified and you will consider how these perceptions are socially constructed according to historical time, place and culture, drawing upon the work of a range of philosophers and educational pioneers. Western perspectives of the child and childhood will be critiqued and contrasted with non-Western views and practices.

The module will explore some of the contemporary debates around children and childhood today and consider implications for practice in the early years.

This module will enable you to develop an understanding of policy and practice with regard to safeguarding and child protection in early childhood settings and schools. Key legislative and statutory guidance for practitioners will be introduced and you will learn about the types, signs and causes of abuse and the implications for children’s outcomes, including those risks posed by globalisation and technology.

You will understand the possible impacts of the safeguarding process on young children and their families and appreciate the importance of working with others to safeguard and promote the well-being of babies and young children. You will learn when to signpost to other services or designated people within a school or setting to safeguard individual children. Safeguarding issues will be explored from theoretical perspectives and with reference to historical cases and current examples.

This module will present you with the opportunity to revisit some of the behaviour theories first introduced at level 4 in the module ECS40221, but you will be encouraged to contextualise these in relation to how these might be used to promote positive behaviour of children in early year’s settings. You will consider some of the reasons behind challenging behaviours in the early years and will develop an understanding of associated medical conditions which might impact on behaviour such as autism, attention deficit disorder and oppositional defiance disorder.

In this module you will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of play and its value for babies and young children. You will explore current understandings and contemporary discourses around play such as concepts of ‘adult-led’ and ‘child-led’ play and you will be encouraged to evaluate current arguments about the role and function of both types of play especially in educational contexts.

Content will focus on linking theory to practice drawing upon your placement experiences and will address themes such as resilience and risk in outdoor play; the child’s right to play; and the place of play and creativity in policy. Visiting speakers will contribute different professional perspectives for example from play work or play therapy.

This module explores a range of issues encountered by learners at different stages of their educational journey and critiques policy in meeting needs. It examines differences, which some children or adults may experience in their learning, which has been interrupted through medical or social causation and labelled as SEND. Two main themes run through the module which are consideration of individual needs and the reality of provision supporting these needs. The module will also explore the impact of sociological changes upon learning, for example cultural changes in relation to new arrivals to the country, both at the level of the individual learner and the wider issues for the family. You will consider the learning environment and the assessment of individual learner needs and the role of the wider stakeholder groups including parents and carers in maximizing learner participation in the educational process. You will explore reports and guidance in order to appreciate the role of evidence and its application within the learning environment.

This module will consider a range of factors, which can often impact upon learning and may potentially go unnoticed. You will consider different impacts of psychological, social and emotional disruption upon learning. This will range from prejudices, global and local social exclusion to mental well-being and academic progress. By the end of the module, you will recognise how a range of issues can affect individual learning needs and understand how different support networks and interventions can enable positive learning and life experiences for those who face hidden inequalities. You will be encouraged to engage in determining the content of the module.

In this module you will reflect on the impact of change on the developing child, with a focus on the range of transitions which children experience from birth to 8 years.

The module will draw from research which argues that if a child is taught to cope with the expected changes that are anticipated through childhood, then they will develop better coping mechanisms when faced with unexpected changes. You will be encouraged to reflect on the changes experienced by children in a rapidly changing society and will examine some of the strategies which might be used to support children through these expected and unexpected changes. A key focus of this module will be that of the promotion of resilience, resourcefulness and reciprocity, and the role of the adult in fostering these in children in order to prepare them for a future of change and supporting more positive outcomes into adulthood.

In this module you will be introduced to theories and models of leadership and management as they apply to an educational setting. You will be encouraged to reflect on the range of leadership roles within an early year setting and will consider how these have changed and developed from an historical perspective relating to policy and legislation in the early childhood sector.

You will reflect on the complexity of managing provision in an ever-changing landscape and will examine some of the challenges and opportunities of working with a range of stakeholders through effective teamwork and application of different leadership styles. Leadership will be set in the contemporary contexts of leadership for learning, multi-professional leadership through working with families and communities and self-evaluation leading to improvement in provision and practice in early childhood settings. These will be explored through a reflection on the skills and attributes needed by leadership and managers in early years contexts.

The module will equip you with transferable and practical skills required for conducting ethical research suited to a range of pedagogical and professional settings e.g., education, social care, health and social work. Lectures and seminars will focus on the nature of educational and social research, including undertaking ethical research; research paradigms; research methods and design; the use of literature in guiding and informing research; and the presentation, interpretation and communication of findings. This module will require you to select and devise a capstone project in relation to Inclusion and/or Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) using one of the following designs: 1-Primary research (you will define a specific research problem and devise a research plan to collect and analyse primary data); 2-Secondary research (you will define a research problem and devise a plan to collect and analyse secondary data); 3-Creative project (you will provide an evidence-based rationale for a creative project that is designed to support learning, inclusion or wellbeing of an individual or group with SEND. Examples include writing literature; designing a game; designing a workshop); 4-Community/Work-based project (you will propose an evidence-based activity that is designed for a community or work-based setting and that elicits new information about a problem, or is designed to support learning, practice, or inclusion in community or work-based setting. Examples may include service evaluation; professional development; training to colleagues or service-users, developing online learning resource).

This module will introduce you to some of the ethical implications of undertaking research with children and their families in an early years setting, including the key principles of anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent, when researching babies and young children. You will be encouraged to reflect on the conceptualisations of the child as subjects, as well as considering the role of the child as co-researcher.

In addition to the traditional learning and teaching strategies, this module will use peer to peer support through collaborative working in which learning ‘about’ the application of research ethics is explored through online and practical activities. You will undertake independent work in developing knowledge and understanding and in working towards the development of your own ethics form. This module will also be underpinned by a 10 day placement in which you will negotiate an area of research with your placement setting.

In this module you will have the opportunity to build on your understanding of the constructs of ‘childhood’ through an examination of past and present contexts, and the challenges and possibilities of global and future childhood.

You will be encouraged to reflect on a number of thought-provoking debates around global issues surrounding childhood, including child labour and child soldiers, child marriage, the global impact of social media on childhood and the global inequalities in education and health. You will be introduced to some of the policy and legislation around protecting the rights of the child and will reflect on the nature of children as objects of National and Global concern.

This module introduces you to spectrums and kaleidoscopes of complex needs and disabilities and their affects upon learning and behaviour. You will have the opportunity to explore in depth the autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and develop knowledge and understanding of current thinking, policy, approaches and strategies to supporting individuals with complex needs in education and social settings. The module explores the relationship between autism, neurodiversity and its co-existence with other disabilities. Much like a kaleidoscope, the presentation of comorbidity differs between individuals and you will gain further insights into environmental and external factors which complicate learning trajectories at different stages of development. You will be encouraged to demonstrate a critical knowledge, and understanding of the complexity of autism, reflect and compare national and international research and practice.

This module introduces you to a critical evaluation of issues associated with the leadership and management of policy and practice in SEND and inclusion. The syllabus will include the principles of educational leadership and management with emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of professionals in schools and other educational settings in relation to provision for SEND/Inclusion (e.g., headteacher, SENDCO, class teacher, special needs support assistants). Consideration will be given to the role of the SENDCO and the national Standards for SENDCOs and implementation of the Special Needs Code of Practice(2015). Other key issues introduced will be cultural, contextual nature of being a leader and the importance of inter, and intrapersonal skills in creating change. Consideration will be given to the emotional impacts in roles of leader and follower and, how this is enacted at different levels across society. By the end of the module, you will demonstrate the ability to reflect on your own abilities to support and/or drive organisational change and policy implementation at a level appropriate for those completing an undergraduate degree programme.

This module requires you to implement, evaluate and present your chosen research-informed project on the topic of Inclusion or Special Educational Needs and Disability. You will practice and develop the research skills introduced in previous modules, applying them in a more independent manner, and in line with ethical research practice. You will use your research skills to either 1-collect and analyse primary or secondary data to answer a research problem; or 2-to implement and evaluate a practical creative or work-based project. You will deepen your knowledge of SENDI and offer insights, through the construction of substantial enquiry, into a contemporary contested concept. There is no formal syllabus for this module, but you will be invited to attend taught sessions as offered. You will proactively manage the development of your conceptual ideas and related arguments, to present your work in a manner suited to your individual project e.g., traditional dissertation, a multimedia presentation and a mini viva or other. There is no placement associated with the module, however, you may arrange your own visits to professional settings to implement projects and gather data, if appropriate.

In this module you will have the opportunity to independently research an aspect of early years provision in a placement setting. You will be expected to negotiate an area of focus with your placement mentors and will design, plan and implement an area of study with a view to facilitating change or supporting provision in your setting.

Ethical issues will be addressed, including the key principles of anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent. Specific guidance will be given for the analysis of data and the production of a research dissertation.

You will be expected to think strategically and analytically and to work independently and autonomously as appropriate within agreed guidelines. There will be an emphasis on enabling you to demonstrate the limitations and uncertainty of knowledge and the influence of perspective and theoretical/methodological approach on findings and conclusions.

This module will enable you to contribute to the work of your placement settings, through the negotiation of your research focus, setting change management and improvement priorities and engage in creating and leaving a ‘legacy’ from your research as you make the transition from ‘knowledge consumer’ to ‘knowledge producer’.

Entry requirements

You will normally need 96-112 UCAS tariff points (from a maximum of four Advanced Level qualifications). We welcome a range of qualifications that meet this requirement, such as A/AS Levels, BTEC, Access Courses, International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge Pre-U, Extended Project etc.

However this list is not exhaustive – please click here for details of all qualifications in the UCAS tariff.

Find out more about the international application process including English Language requirements.

Further information

Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources and key policies.

In accordance with University conditions, students are entitled to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, RP(C)L, based on relevant credit at another HE institution or credit Awarded for Experiential Learning, (RP(E)L).

How you will be taught

There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.

You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.

Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.


Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion

Your first year in SENDI is important. We know that you will need time to settle into university and build up your academic skills and so, we will give you detailed feedback on how you are doing and set your targets to improve your work. We use a wide range of different types of assessment throughout the course, including coursework portfolios, group discussions, multimedia technology presentations and individual projects, as well as essays and a timed assessment (year 3). You may even have the opportunity to get your dissertation research work published!

Early Childhood Studies

We recognise that individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, so we use a variety of assessment strategies in our courses. Assessments in Early Childhood Studies take place at the end of each module in order for you to demonstrate your understanding of the objectives covered. A wide range of assessment methods is used to support your learning, including the production of portfolios, presentations and displays. You’ll also be assessed through written essays, discussions, debates and multimedia projects. Assessments are not only designed to assess your knowledge and understanding but also help you to develop transferable skills which will support you as you enter the early year's workforce.

Careers & Further study

Special Educational Needs, Disability & Inclusion

You will be supported throughout your study by opportunities to explore different career aspirations, working with our specialist team at BGFutures. Guest speakers share their professional experiences which can open new ideas for you. Progression has included graduate employment, teaching, social work, creative therapies, speech and language therapy, senior education managers and residential care. Progression to further study at Master’s level is a further choice. This degree offers a range of possibilities which we are happy to discuss with you at any time.

Early Childhood Studies

Early Childhood is a growing sector and the skills learnt on this course will enable you to enter the children’s workforce in a range of different roles. Some of our students seek a route into teaching through a PGCE qualifications here at BGU, whilst others enter other teacher training routes. Many of our graduates have gone on to further study in areas of specialism including psychology, speech and language or midwifery, whilst others have entered the workforce as early years practitioners and room leaders in early years settings, before going on to management roles. The diverse nature of this course will also enable you to go on to further study such as postgraduate study on a master degree, seeking wider opportunities in many different fields, including health and social care, children’s social work, play therapy and speech and language therapy. Possible future careers for Early Childhood Studies graduates may include as a Teacher or classroom assistant, Speech and language therapy, Early years management, Social work or Play therapy.

"Having mentored many students on placements, it's always gratifying to work alongside those who already have an insight into how children learn and develop. These are the students who can make links between what they have learned in theory with what they then see in practice. These are the students who are able to support children to make progress in areas such as language, communication and social development. The opportunities they have to observe and work with children, coupled with their knowledge of the theory is helping to build an insightful and professional early years workforce". (Kate Hodge, Early Years Practitioner)

What Our Students Say

Discover what life is like at Bishop Grosseteste University from our students.


Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.

We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.

Free Sports and Fitness membership

Fees & Funding

A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.

Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand.

Undergraduate course applicants must apply via UCAS using the relevant UCAS code. For 2024 entry, the application fee is £27, and you can make a maximum of 6 choices.

For the 2025 cycle, UCAS is removing the undergraduate application fee for any student who is/or has received free school meals (FSM) during the last six years, up until the end of their final year at school or college. More information on the UCAS fee waiver can be found here.

Year of Study

UK ‘Home’ Students

International Students

Full-time Tuition Fee

Part-time Tuition Fee per 20 credit module

Part-time Tuition Fee per 30 credit module

Full-time Tuition Fee




For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate. Full details of all tuition fees can be found here.