Taught course

PGCert National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO)

University of Reading · Institute of Education

Entry requirements

You may be offered a place on the PGCert SENCO programme provided you meet all of the requirements listed. If you are in the process of achieving these requirements, then a conditional offer may be made pending satisfactory completion of the offer requirements.

Entrants to this programme are normally required to:

  • hold a good undergraduate honours degree (2:1 or above), or equivalent from a university outside the UK. We will consider applicants who have other qualifications and a number of years of relevant work experience.
  • teachers or Early Years practitioners who are qualified to teach in England and Wales (QTS/QTLS or EYTS status)
  • employed in a setting that can provide you access to learners with SEND throughout the duration of the programme.

If your place is funded by your school, you will also be required to provide a statement from your employer supporting your entry to the programme.

Please note: If you hold the EYTS qualification and then obtain the PGCert SENCO, you remain restricted in your role as SENCo to the age range 0–5 years. We require a letter from the head of the school/educational establishment, specifying the financial, mentoring and time allowances that will be provided. Students on the MA course or new applicants may complete the two taught modules, but can only be awarded PGCert Education. The National Award for SENCO is reserved by law for those with a recognised teaching qualification. School staff in the role of special educational needs coordinator will have completed an induction period (in line with SEND Regulations 2014, paragraph 49).

Pre-sessional English language programme

If you need to improve your English language score, you can take a pre-sessional English course prior to entry onto your degree.

Months of entry


Course content

Gain the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination with flexible online and in-person study that fits around your full-time work.

New special educational needs coordinators are required to attain the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO) within three years of appointment in their roles.

On our PGCert SENCO programme, you will deepen your understanding of teaching and learning for all students, with a particular focus on supporting young learners with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), and being a successful leader in SEND education. You’ll reflect on, explore, and evaluate ways to meet an individual's needs through the appropriate educational provision.

At the University of Reading’s Institute of Education, our experienced teaching staff will support you to hone skills that will be crucial in your work as a special educational needs coordinator. You will develop your SEND leadership profile and enhance the analytical skills you need to examine the evidence behind SEND provision in schools. You’ll strengthen your interpersonal skills, which will prepare you for working with a range of professionals, families, and young individuals. We also offer opportunities for you to grow a network of like-minded professionals in the field of SEND education.

In our teaching we focus on evidence-informed, work-based practice. In taught sessions and in your assignments, you will be encouraged to reflect on practice in your own school, and go on to inform this practice by undertaking a critical review of theory and recent research evidence. Completion of assignments regularly requires access to learners with SEND.

You will benefit from interactive seminars with SEND and leadership experts, group work, work-based research, access to the University Library and online resources.

By the end of the programme, you will demonstrate the learning outcomes for special educational needs coordinators as set out in the Department for Education and Department of Health's Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (DfE and DoH, 2015).

If you successfully complete the PGCert National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination at Reading, you’ll receive the National Award qualification as well as a Postgraduate Certificate worth 60 master’s-level credits, which can count towards a master’s degree.

Flexible study options

This programme is offered flexibly across the autumn and spring terms (October to April), with regular contact hours every two to three weeks.

Compulsory sessions are delivered online as live taught sessions, and there are options for guided and independent learning time to accommodate those who are working full-time. There are two additional optional study days scheduled to be held on campus or at distance via guided learning.

Students can only graduate with the award of Postgraduate Certificate and the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination if they are a qualified teacher and possess either qualified teacher status (QTS), qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS), or early years teacher (EYT) status.

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 overall with no element less than 6.0 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

New UK/Republic of Ireland students: £2,700

New international students: £7,177

Tuition fee information

The fees listed are for full-time study, unless otherwise stated. Fee information will be confirmed in offer letters sent out to successful applicants. You can find further information, including information for part-time study, through our dedicated fees and funding page.

EU student fees

With effect from 1 August 2021, new EU students will pay international tuition fees. For exceptions, please read the UK government’s guidance for EU students.

Additional costs

Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.

Financial support for your studies

You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGCert
    12-36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team