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MA / PG Dip / PG Cert Education (Special and Inclusive Education)

Special and Inclusive Education examines the wide range of professional issues surrounding special educational needs in mainstream schools and specialist settings.

Postgraduate Awards:
MA Education (Special and Inclusive Education)
Postgraduate Diploma Education(Special and Inclusive Education)
Postgraduate Certificate Education (Special and Inclusive Education)

The Special and Inclusive Education pathway examines the wide range of professional issues surrounding special educational needs in mainstream schools and specialist settings.

The course is concerned with the implications of inclusion for learning, teaching and pupil performance and takes account of policy and legislation.

You can focus on a range of topics, from dyslexia or autistic spectrum conditions to emotional, behavioural and social difficulties, and the study will be relevant to the classroom or workplace, with a strong emphasis on reflecting on your own practice in order to bring about school improvements that affect the achievement and motivation of your pupils.

Examples of good practice are drawn from research literature and from discussion with other practitioners. The course also acknowledges the importance of developing a research-based approach to learning.

Teaching focuses on schools, as many students are teachers or teaching assistants. However, the approach and assessment successfully includes practitioners from a range of disciplines and in workplaces such as Early Years settings, Further Education, home teaching and various clinical settings. Teachers, teaching assistants and other professionals from both special and mainstream schools, units and support teams work closely together on the modules.

Each module has five evening group teaching sessions. Sessions include lectures, seminars and discussion. There are also group and/or individual tutorials, offering support for the module assessment. Students are expected to integrate professional expertise into their study and are encouraged to share their understanding.


Solihull Local Authority Champion Pathfinder and the Institute of Education jointly hosted a Conference entitled Children’s Futures in The West Midlands on the 6th of November, exploring developments in policy and provision for learners with special educational needs. For details of the conference and links to the presentations click here.


How to Apply

For all taught postgraduate awards, please apply directly to University of Worcester. You can download an application form, or can contact the Admissions office on 01905 855111 / 

Please post your completed application form to:
Admissions Office
University Of Worcester
Henwick Grove

When we receive your application form, your details will be passed to the Masters Programme Leader who will contact you to arrange an informal interview. You may include additional material, such as references, in support of your application or bring them with you to interview.

You can apply for postgraduate taught courses and PG Certs at any time, but preferably as early as possible before the start of the academic year, which begins in September.

Accreditation of previous learning:

In many cases it is possible to gain credit for previous study or experience. Previous study at the same level in other institutions is recognised as transferred academic credit, and professional learning can be analysed through the completion of an Independent Study. Up to 50% of taught elements of the award for which you are registered may be achieved through Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Study options

Get in touch

Dr Wendy Messenger
01905 855329

Admissions Office
01905 855111



Postgraduate study will mark you out in today’s competitive job market, showing that you have enhanced knowledge in this subject area, as well as highlighting your ability to analyse, communicate and apply theory – all skills which are sought after by employers.

Course content


Required modules
Please see for full details of required modules.
Contemporary Issues in Education: theory, policy and practice (MAED4006 - 20 credits)
Research Methods (MAED4001 – 20 credits)
Dissertation (MAED4440—40 credits or MAED4460—60 credits)

Pathway modules
Please note that modules which make up the PG Cert. Education (Special Educational Needs Coordination - National Award SENCo) are also pathway modules for the MA Education (Special and Inclusive Education) allowing graduates of this PG Cert to progress in the MA Education (Special and Inclusive Education) with 60 credits.
Three modules examine professional issues in special and inclusive learning environments with an emphasis on critical reflection on practice.

Special and Inclusive Education: Towards Inclusion (MAED4040)
This module considers legislation, policy, definitions and approaches to educational ‘inclusion’ in relation to children with disabilities or ‘special educational needs’. A range of current ideas from current authorities are discussed. The module looks at the implications for practitioners of the diversity of pupils’ learning needs and investigates how far current educational practice may be seen as ‘inclusive’. The module reflects on the concept of a discrete pedagogy for special and inclusive education and will address teaching approaches that may be used effectively with all pupils.

Towards Inclusion: Partnership and Reflection (MAED4041)
This module builds on the foundations established in the above module but can also be taken independently of Part 1. The module will enable students to further develop their critical reflective practice. Collaboration in a wide range of possible partnerships is explored – for example between teachers, teaching assistants, families and therapists and between special and mainstream schools and units.

Inclusion and Challenging Behaviour (MAED4047)
The admission of pupils with behavioural difficulties is often seen as the greatest challenge of the inclusion framework. The module looks at a wide spectrum of behaviour in ‘mainstream’ and ‘special’ settings. The approach looks at the wider context of the education system as well as the school level and the perspective of the teacher / practitioner. This module examines factors which contribute to challenging behaviour and strategies which may be employed to promote inclusion at all levels. The module assessment allows for both interventionist and library-based study.

Negotiated Learning (with a focus on Special and Inclusive Education) (MAED4007/4008 — 20 /40 credits)
Negotiated Learning is designed to provide a flexible means of study through negotiation with a tutor. It provides a range of ways for students to develop their capacities for independent professional judgment in a chosen field. The student engages in a professional inquiry in a systematic, rigorous, critical and self-analytical manner in the context of institutional and professional development. In this module students might, for example, try out an intervention with a group of learners and evaluate its impact, or the focus of the module might be a review of relevant literature.


Postgraduate Certificate Education (Special and Inclusive Education)
To gain a Postgraduate Certificate students must successfully complete two Special and Inclusive Education pathway modules, plus one from available MA Education modules.

Postgraduate Diploma Education (Special and Inclusive Education)
To achieve the Postgraduate Diploma, students complete three pathway modules, plus Contemporary Issues in Education: theory, policy and practice and any two from available MA Education modules.

MA Education (Special and Inclusive Education)
To achieve the MA Education (Special and Inclusive Education) students complete three pathway modules, plus Contemporary Issues in Education: theory, policy and practice, Research Methods, a Dissertation 40 or 60 credits plus one or two from available MA Education modules.


Assessment for each Special and Inclusive Education pathway module is a 3,000-word essay for each module, with a wide choice of titles. Tutor support is seen as an essential part of the learning process, as students may not have studied recently and are often in full-time work.

Student views

Elisabet Basford

I chose Worcester for my Masters because I wanted a small campus experience with lecturers who cared about their students. Over the course of my time here, I have attended well taught seminars which prompted interesting debates with colleagues. Ultimately these influenced and impacted my practice as a teacher, and fuelled my desire to take my studies further. I have just been accepted onto a PhD program with Oxford Brookes thanks to the encouragement and support of the lovely staff at Worcester.



Ruth Mace

MA completed in February 2013

The modules I was able to choose for my MA in Special and Inclusive Education were relevant and informative. The sessions were delivered using a motivating and interactive approach, stimulating positive debate on topical issues within the group. The encouragement I received from my main tutor gave me the confidence to pursue my interest beyond the Masters. The skills I developed during the course have enabled me successfully to begin research at PhD level.

Academic department

Institute of Education

“Our high quality programmes and innovative teaching methods prepare and train the very best professionals. Worcester graduates have made a huge difference in the field of education.”
Ann Jordan, Head of Institute