MA Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education

In an age of austerity and globalisation, what do we mean by inclusion? Is it possible to develop an inclusive curriculum? How does inclusive education influence social justice?

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Overview

Explore the ways practitioners generate knowledge across the field of inclusive education and disability. Reflect on your understanding of special educational needs. Examine alternative approaches to inclusion and diversity in education.

This masters degree focuses on the hidden voices in education. Rather than exploring a particular category of special educational needs (SEN), you’ll consider the critical issues for equality and diversity.

You’ll question the way we educate and look at alternative ways to encourage the inclusion of children and adults who are marginalised from typical ways of learning.

We emphasise the importance of understanding different perspectives and investigating where your position lies within current debates. We challenge you to rethink your ideas about education, to critique your views, and to think about the implications for policy and practice.

You’ll explore some of the wider questions related to theory, policy and practice in the field of inclusion, disability and SEN. Questions such as: How can education promote greater equity in an increasingly diverse society? How should we understand the complexities of inclusive education in a rapidly changing world?

Typically, you’ll study three core units and two option units. These option units give you the opportunity to delve deeper into the areas you’re passionate about, such as global policy or disability and difference.

Your final assignment is a dissertation and you’ll choose the topic.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

You could develop your career across the education sector within mainstream and specialist settings. Many of our students have gone in to management and advisory positions related to inclusion and diversity in schools and other educational settings.

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.

You might continue studying, beginning a PGCE to become a teacher or starting a research degree (MPhil, EdD or PhD).

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

Standard Manchester Met 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

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

Our course enables you to deepen your understanding of how to develop more inclusive practice. You’ll focus on the context of your own professional setting or country, so that you can apply the knowledge you learn.

In the first term, you’ll typically study the research design process, including how to formulate research questions and data collection approaches. This is to help you learn the skills you’ll need for your dissertation.

In the second term (January onwards), you’ll normally have the opportunity to choose two option units.

You might choose the Practice Based Project, where you can develop a practical community project. You could investigate global issues affecting policy and childhood, perhaps exploring how children living in poverty develop skills. Or, you might conduct a critical analysis of social justice in a particular region.

You’ll usually begin working on your dissertation in the second term, too. You’re allocated a supervisor and you’ll have enhancement sessions to support you with tasks such as literature reviews, writing for academic purposes, and data analysis.

You can also attend the regular research seminars run by our on-campus research group, the Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI). This includes our weekly ‘beginner’s guide’ lectures where guest speakers discuss theories. Past topics include Alfred North Whitehead, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault.

For further information, please contact Dr Samantha Fox

Core units

  • Introduction to Educational and Social Research Design
  • Understanding Inclusive Education

Option units

  • 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

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Understanding Inclusive Education

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

Introduction to Education and Social Research Design

This unit aims to provide you with an understanding of the research design process. It will start with framing the issue and reviewing literature. You will learn how to formulate research questions and hypotheses, and how in turn decisions made at this stage shape the research design. You 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.  

Likely Optional Units

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.

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.

Globalisation, 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.

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. 

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.

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.   

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.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment

Placement options

Although there isn’t a formal placement for this course, you can visit an educational setting to observe lessons and teaching methods through the option unit Practice Based Project.

Usually, you’ll identify an area of interest and create a proposal that includes the location you’d like to visit. For example, you might observe science lessons in a secondary school.

Your assignment for the unit reflects your observations and the implications for future practice. This gives you the opportunity to apply your knowledge to your role.

Your placement can be in any educational setting, such as a museum, school or charity.

School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies

Our School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies specialises in teaching and research around education disciplines focused on children, young people, families and communities.

The department works collaboratively with communities, partners, local authorities and arts organisations on social enterprise projects, and has been at the forefront of developments in its field for over 20 years.

More about the department

Taught by experts

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.

Meet our expert staff

Fees

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £15,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2584 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

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 postgraduate 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.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.

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