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National Award

Special Educational Needs Coordination

Pupils writing
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught / Practitioner / Professional
  • Study mode(s): Part-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: Friday 15 January 2021
  • Course duration: One year


Special educational needs teaching at Nottingham Trent University (NTU)

This statutory national award, in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, will develop your professional attributes, and improve your knowledge, skills and understanding to enable you to carry out your SENCO role effectively and with confidence.

This one year, National Award is available to SENCOs and other interested teachers from any school or education setting in the UK. It is delivered though a partnership between Nottingham Trent University and Nottinghamshire County Council. Prior to the establishment of the National Award, we had an established track record of jointly delivering a highly regarded induction course for SENCOs.


The past five months have been very demanding for everyone. The immediate and long term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on everyone and we are still unsure how this will play out in the coming months.

In light of this unprecedented situation, the government requirements for social distancing, our large course numbers and to ensure we keep everyone safe, we have decided to move our first on-site full teaching day from our normal September 2020 start to Friday 15 January 2021. The following four full teaching days will be held in February, March, May and June 2021.

We hope this small change to our face-to-face teaching time helps you get off to a great start for the new school year/term in September and takes away any additional pressure you may feel in balancing your workload in these unprecedented times. Looking forward to your enrolment in September and meeting you in January.

Why study this course?

  • Achievement of this National Award is a legal requirement for all new SENCOs
  • With only five compulsory days attendance, and distance support it is ideal to fit in with a busy lifestyle
  • Benefit from an experienced course leader with a reputation in special education and inclusion
  • Access all the University's resources and online workspace

Accredited by:

Senco accreditation

What you'll study

We are currently reviewing the content of our courses to ensure that they remain relevant, adopt best practice and current to out students’ future ambitions and society. Please continue to check this course webpage for the latest developments.

The National Award comprises of two elements:

  • A practical competency framework where you collect evidence for a series of nationally-set professional outcomes.
  • Masters level study (60 credits), which can be used towards gaining an MA Education and recognises your experience in special and inclusive education.

“The National Award for SEN Co-ordination has been more than a qualification; it has been the driver of change in school policy, classroom teaching and SEN intervention provision.  It has empowered me as an individual to encourage staff to think about their practice and instil the question ‘How is this benefiting the children?’ to ensure the best possible practice for our children”

How you’re taught

Study sessions involve:

  • five compulsory days attendance the University
  • five days for independent set tasks
  • personal or virtual tutorial and tutor support sessions as required by you.

Compulsory taught sessions

For the 2020/21 academic year only, our face-to-face teaching days will be:


Day 1 - Friday 15 January, 2021

Introduction to National Award for SEN Coordination and NTU; the SENCO role; parent and pupil voice.

Day 2 - Friday 12 February 2021

An overview of the legislative framework; SEN Tribunals; SEN policy in practice; Removing barriers to inclusion.

Day 3 - Friday 19 March, 2021

Evidence based practice in SEN support; Impact of interventions; the professional role of the SENCO as a leader.

Day 4 - Friday 21 May, 2021

Assessment and planning.

Day 5 - Friday 25 June, 2021

Working in partnership with others.

Independent set tasks

The set tasks all involve school-based activities and include:

  • One day (equivalent) of meetings with your head teacher to focus on the professional role of the SENCO and review how to meet your learning outcomes. It is recommended this is around two hours a term.
  • Half day visit to an alternative phase mainstream setting, focusing on the professional role of the SENCO, low / high incidence of SEN and disabilities, participation and learning, and working in partnership with other professionals.
  • Half day visit to either a community special school or a special school focusing on a particular needs, for example autism. The focus is on high incidence of SEN and disabilities, participation and learning, and working in partnership with other professionals.
  • Half day attendance at a multi-professional / multi-agency meeting, with a focus on working with other professionals.
  • Two days in school to undertake tasks linked to the written assignments, with a focus on conducting an inquiry, audit and evaluation of provision and working with pupils, parents and colleagues.
  • Half day optional attendance at a tutorial on Meeting the Learning Outcomes at NTU. If you decide not to attend this, you may use the time for further course related work in school.

Masters level study

The Masters component requires completion of tasks that include:

  • A critical review of legislation, policy and literature as it relates to the SENCO role, with a critical review of SEN policy in action within your school
  • A small-scale research study about improving pupil achievement.
  • A critical analysis of school practice of consulting, engaging and communicating with pupils and parents.

"The Masters level work was worthwhile, stimulating, interesting and relevant. The tutors were so helpful with this learning curve."

Careers and employability

Successful completion of the National Award is a pre-requisite for all new SENCOs to be able to continue in the role and this must be completed within three years from the date of your appointment.This course does not currently offer placements.

Entry requirements

You must be one of the following:

  • a current SEN Coordinator
  • intending to take up a SEN Coordinator role in the future and have access to the practice-based elements required for the course.

You must have obtained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), or Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, prior to applying.

How to apply

Contact the Course Administrator to request further information and an application form:

Course Administrator

Michele Taylor

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2020 entry are set at £1950.00 and may be subject to change.

Find out more about how to pay your fees on our Online payment pages.

If your tuition fees are being met either fully or partly by your employer or other organisation, you can find more details on our Sponsored students page. For further clarification please contact Michele Taylor on

Still need help?

Michele Taylor