Manchester Metropolitan University


Inclusive Education and Disability

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Linked to world-leading research at the Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
  • Tutors are engaged in research and knowledge exchange activities and have published a number of books relevant to our courses
  • Accreditation of prior learning is available for recent and relevant Masters credits
  • Students can attend a range of events across the Faculty, including our annual SENCo conference
  • Our virtual learning environment, Moodle, provides each unit with its own website with all the essential learning materials plus a wealth of additional resources you can access from home.
  • Students are encouraged to expand their network in the academic community, present at local conferences and to look to publish their own work

Student Profile: Sofia Eleftheriadou on the MA Inclusive Education and Special Educational Needs

"As a qualified primary school teacher from Greece, I began my journey to Machester Met as a wish to deepen my understanding of effective inclusive educational practice and to be equipped to deal with pupils with special educational needs while increasing my career prospects and potential.

I came here with my own way of thinking and perceiving issues which was certainly affected by the context of my own country.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that my Masters studies enabled me to not only broaden my knowledge, but also gain the opportunity to meet and debate with people from various positions and countries. Discussing the educational system with my classmates from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Italy was unexpectedly interesting for me and this is one of the benefits of studying in the UK where meeting other cultures leads to constructive dialogues.

My overall experience on this course gave me the opportunity to start thinking more critically and reconstructing my understanding of some issues. As a teacher, the MA offered me the chance to enhance my skills and educational practices and finally, personally it helped me to develop my independence and identity within a different community.

This journey is not over yet as I aim to use in practice the knowledge and skills that I have gained and of course to stay in contact with the people who supported and inspired me at Manchester Met."

Read more student profiles

About the course

In term one, students take two core units.  The unit 'Introduction to Educational and Social Research Design' is interconnected with the other full time Masters awards in the Postgraduate Research in Education, Community and Society programme and enables, from the outset, a consideration of the ways in which knowledge is generated in the field of inclusive education and disability.

The second core unit 'Understanding Inclusive Education' provides opportunities for students to reflect on their understandings of disability and special educational needs and to consider alternative approaches in the context of recent research on inclusion and diversity in education.

In term two, students are able to choose two options from the selection below:

  • Collaborative Research Project
  • Globalisation, Social Justice and Social Change
  • Identity, Equality and Empowerment in Childhood
  • Independent Study
  • Key Issues in Managing Diversity, Disability and Special Educational Needs
  • Practice Based Project
  • Transformative and Ethical Leadership in Educational Settings

Taught units offered develop students' ability to critically engage with published research and to develop their own research skills in support of their own fields of interest.  The option unit, ‘Key Issues in Managing Diversity, Disability and Special Educational Needs’ examines issues of exclusion and marginalisation, disability and difference, race and culture. Here, there is a focus is on critical issues for equity and diversity rather than on particular categories of need. Drawing from such fields as critical pedagogy, disability studies and multicultural education, the unit explores critical theory and research and examines a range of alternative approaches to promoting social justice in education.

Every student undertakes a (60 credit) dissertation, allowing in-depth and extended study in an area of interest and relevance.

Throughout the award, students are encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest using analysis, reflection and evaluation.  Interconnecting themes across the option units (for example, promoting equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and developing understanding of social justice) allow students to choose units that reflect their own academic interests and connect with their particular professional context whilst still retaining academic relevance with the award.

For further information, please contact Dr Samantha Fox,

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Core Units

The dissertation is an extended piece of writing reporting on research undertaken independently by the student, guided by a supervisor.

Identification and definition of an appropriate research topic. Identification, location and critical review of relevant textual resources: literature reviews, documentary analysis, policy/professional documents, official statistics. Discussion and selection of an appropriate research strategy; developing a research proposal. Developing meaningful research questions from initial concepts, ontological/epistemological considerations, methodology/approach, ethical issues, (data) analysis, dissemination. Ethical clearance for research undertaken.  Implementation of the research and writing a research report and presenting research findings.

Independent Study

This unit allows students to articulate, plan, and pursue a topic of special/individual interest related to the student’s award area, and under the guidance of a tutor.

Participants will negotiate an appropriate area of study and demonstrate how this will enable them to meet unit learning outcomes and the ways in which it fits with the award area and their own learning.

The student will carefully consider and agree with the unit leader the approach to be adopted, carry out the agreed programme of work to support the agreed output, and reflect on the process of independent study.

The main teaching input will take the form of a set up tutorial, further guidance (including via email etc), and a point for formative assessment. Participants may, and are encouraged to, integrate other activities, such as conferences or courses in other programmes of study where possible and that support learning in the area under consideration.

Introduction to Education and Social Research Design

This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the research design process. It will start with framing the issue and reviewing literature. Students will learn how to formulate research questions and hypotheses, and how in turn decisions made at this stage shape the research design. They will be presented with a selection of common research designs and a wide range of research data collection approaches and analytical tools. The focus of this unit is on the decision making process researchers need to go through, underpinned by political, methodological and ethical issues which need to be taken into account.  

Understanding Inclusive Education

This unit presents an overview of the field of inclusive education and introduces students to key concepts and terminology.  Students are encouraged to reflect on their understandings of special educational needs and to consider alternative approaches in the context of recent research on inclusion and diversity in education. 

The policy context for inclusive education: tensions and challenges;  inclusive pedagogies and the development of  inclusive curricula; the development of inclusive schools; developing more inclusive classroom practices; processes of inclusive development; inclusive education as social justice; assignment workshop; critical reading task; tutorials.

Likely Optional Units
Collaborative Research Project

This unit aims to provide students with the practical and analytical skills needed to embark upon collaborative research. It is assumed that students will already have a grounding in theory and methodology and in the process of research design. This unit will thus allow students to apply it to a real-world research context. Students will work in small groups of 3-4 students through the process of research on a ‘real-life’ issue/problem, clarifying research questions and perspectives, deciding on a methodological approach, selecting data collection and data analysis methods, carrying out the project, writing up and dissemination. Throughout the unit, students will be expected to critically engage with the political and ethical implications of generating research knowledge (as well as practical challenges and constraints including word limits, and research issues arising from working together) and the ways in which theory informs practice as students develop research literacy.

Globalization, Social Justice and Social Change

This unit will explore the relationship between education, social justice and the state within a global context.  It will provide theoretical frameworks to enable students to develop critical understanding of educational inequalities in national, international and global contexts. The unit will also consider strategies adopted to address these inequalities.

Students will be introduced to the key concepts of social justice, globalization and identity. Students will be engaged in critical thought and discussion about the social, political, and economic mechanisms that perpetuate educational inequalities globally. Students will apply appropriate theoretical perspectives to case studies or their own professional contexts to explore implications for the development of more equitable practice and global citizens.

Identity, Equality and Empowerment in Childhood

By focusing on issues of personal agency and identity, the unit helps the student to establish their own critical positioning as a practitioner/professional in a childhood/youth setting. It enables students to identify and articulate effective methods of investigating the experiences of different  individuals to inform the critical development of structures and practices that support children. The unit will reflect on a range of philosophies, disciplines and ideas that can inform ways of enhancing equality, empowering individuals and communities. This unit complements the studies carried out in the unit ‘International comparisons of childhoods’ but can also be taken as an option unit by other programme award students.

The unit will draw on critical philosophical accounts of identity and inequality to consider how these accounts can inform research and practice. The unit will explore studies of personal learning and professional relationships to consider how individual agency can be nurtured and how tensions between individuals can be reduced. Students will be encouraged to consider the relevance of engaging in research to support their own areas of interest.

Key Issues in Managing Diversity, Disability and Special Educational Needs (SEN)

This unit examines issues of exclusion and marginalisation, disability and difference, race and culture.  It focuses on critical issues for equity and diversity rather than on particular categories of special educational need. An emphasis is placed on understanding different perspectives (sociological, psychological, medical, educational, rights-based etc), on locating oneself in the debates and on implications for policy and practice. Students are introduced to a variety of issues for analysis and exploration from a range of contexts as well as drawing on specialist/discrete fields of knowledge such as autism, specific learning difficulties, social emotional mental health. In this way, the unit enables students to articulate and explore wider questions pertinent to theory, policy and/or practice in the field of inclusion, disability and SEN: how can education promote greater equity in an increasingly diverse society?  What does inclusion mean in an age of austerity and Globalization? How should we understand the complexities of inclusive education in a rapidly changing world? Drawing from such fields as critical pedagogy, disability studies and multicultural education, the unit explores critical theory and research and examines a range of alternative approaches to promoting social justice in education. Students are encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest using analysis, reflection and evaluation, students will undertake a presentation and report on an issue of their choice. 

Practice Based Project

This unit involves a significant (practice-based) independent study which critically addresses current knowledge in the field as defined by the students’ award and developed within the context of engagement with a practice setting and/or practitioners.

Introduction; reflective practice in education and approaches to reflective writing. Identifying an area of focus/setting(s) context, aims and objectives; ethical issues, preparation, negotiating access and planning for a practice engagement; dealing with difficulties and using IT for tutor support and research. 

The unit will enable students to undertake an independent study based on involvement in a practice setting(s) and/or with practitioners, which is related to their Masters study focus and future employment and/or practice interests. This will take the form of a practice-based project plan, and related critically reflective journal and evaluation. Students will be supported to choose a relevant and appropriate topic area, potential practice setting(s), and to negotiate access, but this will be led by the student with guidance, and access to particular settings cannot be guaranteed. Students will locate their topic within their setting context/practice engagement remit, relevant education/related policy and research, and discuss implications for own understanding and professional development. The form of practice engagement will vary depending on student focus of interest and practical constraints but might include observations/shadowing, professional conversations with practitioners/stakeholders/managers, visits to settings/organisations, participation in a professional network or meetings, online and library-based research, and other activities related to an educational or related setting/organisation. The practice engagement will normally always include agreed activities in the practice setting/s. The form(s) of engagement will be negotiated and agreed with the supporting tutor and relevant setting(s) but normally comprises 15 days (or equivalent) directly in practice-related activities.

Students should note that access to particular practice settings cannot be guaranteed and that access to settings for most activities normally also requires DBS clearance. Students should plan well ahead of the unit and with the supporting tutor to ensure that DBS clearance can be achieved in time and where this is needed.   

Transformative and Ethical Leadership in Educational Settings

This unit focuses on the developing understandings of transformative and ethical leadership in educational contexts. The unit will explore the contribution of educational leadership in delivering social change and equality. Additionally democratic leadership approaches will be analysed in educational organisations. Educational values in an age of performativity will be critically analysed and the notion of educational leadership as an ethical endeavour will be explored.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Assessments are based around your workplace and relevant to your own practice. All assessed work is returned to students with both formative and summative comments, which are intended to present clear guidance for future assessment. There are no formal examinations.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Standard MMU admission requirements for taught postgraduate programmes apply: applicants need to have an honours degree, or a postgraduate diploma or a professional qualification recognised as being equivalent to a UK honours degree. Other qualifications or experience may be acceptable if students are able to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills to a UK honours degree standard.

Language requirements
International applicants need to demonstrate English Language requirements at IELTS 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any component, or equivalent.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

Career options after the course

Many students progress in their career through promotion to a range of leadership roles related to inclusion and diversity in schools and other educational setttings.  Teachers who take the PgCert (NASENCO) as part of their MA may become Special Educational Needs Coordinators in schools; others may develop specialisms in areas of special educational needs, such as autism or dyslexia.

There are opportunities for successful students to progress to research degrees with the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, leading to Doctor of Education (Inclusive Education) or PhD.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.