Develop the knowledge and skills to become a dyslexia expert in a school.
This course supports teachers and professionals working in education to identify, assess, plan intervention for, teach and support students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD).
You’ll develop your understanding of the problems children and adolescents with SpLD in literacy experience. You’ll examine the debates about the nature and causes of literacy-related learning difficulties, such as whether dyslexia is inherited or what the term ‘dyslexia’ means.
You’ll study topics including memory, phonetics, motivating students, and the effect of the environment. You’ll also explore the controversies surrounding the form of support children require, such as computer programmes and visual therapies.
Some of the practical skills you’ll learn include how to write assessment reports, how to teach using a structured, multisensory approach, and how to plan appropriate intervention strategies.
On the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in SpLD, you’ll focus on becoming a good specialist teacher of children with dyslexia (up to the age of 18).
On the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in SpLD, you’ll develop your skills both as an assessor and a consultant. This means that you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to take on an advisory role.
Our Masters in SpLD offers you the opportunity to conduct a small-scale research project in your own workplace. You can investigate an aspect of dyslexia you’re particularly interested in, and write about your findings through a dissertation.
When you graduate, you’ll have the skills to be a specialist dyslexia teacher.
Some of our SpLD course graduates have developed careers as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCO), heads of SEN departments in secondary schools, private assessors, deputy head teachers, local authority advisory teachers, and associate lecturers on SpLD courses.
If you’re hoping to support children with specific learning difficulties in literacy and numeracy, you could study for our PgDip Specific Learning Difficulties: Literacy and Numeracy. When you complete this award, you’re eligible to apply for ATS and ATS Dyscalculia from the BDA.
Learn more about graduate careers
Applicants will normally need to:
- have a UK honours degree or international equivalent*
- have a minimum of two years teaching experience
- be able to satisfy on application that they are able to undertake all the programme related tasks
*Applicants must have qualified at level 6 - a foundation degree does not meet our entry requirements.
Up to 60 credits can be claimed by teachers who have already undertaken a post graduate award in Specific Learning Difficulties that is BDA accredited at Approved Teacher Status (ATS) or Approved Practitioner (APS) level.
We will also consider applications from professionals in related fields, such as speech therapists, educational psychologists and occupational therapists.
Applicants should clearly state whether they have QTS on their application form as the award given by the BDA at the end of year 1 will be Approved Practitioner Status (APS) not Approved Teacher Status (ATS) for those practitioners.
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.
You’ll learn how to teach using a structured, multi-sensory approach, how to assess the abilities and difficulties of children, and how to create appropriate intervention strategies.
You’ll also learn how to write assessment reports, and advise and support both students and other teachers.
In years one and two of our Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) course, you’ll focus on developing practical skills.
You’ll assess and teach students experiencing specific learning difficulties in your own workplace. This supervised practice of teaching enables you to meet the requirements of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).
In year one, you must assess one student, and teach for at least one hour per week for 20 weeks. In year two, you must assess three students and teach one student for at least one hour per week for 10 weeks. (The BDA stipulates that the majority of this teaching must be one-to-one, though they do permit a small amount of group work.)
Your assessment reports in year two must meet the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee criteria for Assessment Practising Certificate. (To support you to meet these requirements, we offer a number of optional assessment workshops at an additional fee of £75 per workshop.)
In year three of the MA SpLD, you’ll carry out a small-scale research project in your workplace. You’ll write about your findings in a dissertation of 15,000-18,000 words.
You’ll mainly have one-to-one tutorials to support you with your dissertation. We’ll arrange these at a time that’s convenient for you and the tutorials can be face-to-face, by Skype, telephone or email.
PG Cert, PG Dip or MA SpLD
You can choose to study for a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Masters degree (MA).
The PgCert carries 60 credits and we typically deliver the course over two terms, one evening per week (excluding school holidays).
The PgDip carries 120 credits and we typically deliver it over two terms (one evening per week) in year one and in year two, on four Saturdays in the autumn term and four Saturdays in the spring term.
To achieve a masters degree (180 credits), you’ll need to complete years one and two and write a dissertation of 15,000 - 18,000 words in year three.
Additional information about this course
There’s an additional, mandatory fee of £375 per year of study for the PgCert/PgDip SpLD.
This fee covers the observation and assessment of two one-hour lessons, two individual tutorials with AMBDA tutors, and support with report writing and lesson planning via feedback on drafts.
If you have any questions about this course, please contact the Programme Leader, Dr Kathleen Kelly, via email: K.Kelly@mmu.ac.uk
Postgraduate Certificate in SpLD
On this course you will study two units:
Unit 1: Nature, Assessment and Intervention
- Nature and definitions of dyslexia
- Theories of causation, impact of environment and SEBD issues
- Models of working memory and implications for learning
- Informal assessment and screening; use of ICT in assessment
- Models of reading development and assessment of reading
- Miscue analysis of reading
- Models of spelling development; assessment of phonological processing
- Free writing analysis; assessment of spelling and handwriting
- Writing informal assessment reports; introduction to structured, multisensory teaching
- Writing Individual Learning Plans for learners with literacy difficulties
Unit 2: Intervention and the Practice of Teaching
- Principles of structured language programmes; alphabet work and discovery learning
- Principles of multisensory teaching programmes; activities for developing fluency in reading
- Multisensory routines and DVD of a multisensory lesson (secondary)
- Memory training and strategies to improve recall; multisensory spelling techniques
- Models of SEN and learning preferences; use of ICT in lessons
- Spelling rules and choices; learning irregular/subject specific spellings, DVD of a multisensory lesson (primary)
- Models of self-esteem, motivation in learning, problem solving approaches and metacognition
- Introduction to morphology
- Introduction to phonetics
- Specific learning difficulties in mathematics
When you successfully complete these units, you will receive a PG Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties and be eligible to apply for Approved Teacher Status or Approved Practitioner Status (for those without QTS) from the British Dyslexia Association.
Postgraduate Diploma in SpLD
In addition to the above units, you will study a further two units to achieve the PGDip.
When you successfully complete Units 3 and 4, you will be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) and for an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).
Unit 3: Support for Learning: Management of SpLD from Early Years to GCSE
- An introduction to psychometrics: reliability, validity, standardisation, confidence bands, standard error of measurement
- Formal assessment of reading and spelling; evaluating standardised tests
- Dyslexia screening tests and issues of early identification
- Writing a diagnostic assessment report
- Critical consideration of the concept of cognitive ability; assessment of underlying ability
- Visual processing difficulties: implications for assessment, support and Access Arrangements; visual stress and reading comprehension
- Access arrangements and current JCQ regulations
- Assessment of cognitive processing and fine motor skills
Unit 4: Legal Issues and Consultancy
- Current legislation (e.g. Equality Act 2010, Family and Children's Act 2014, SEND Code of Practice 2015)
- Consultancy, counselling and interpersonal skills
- Dyscalculia and SpLD in mathematics
- Dyslexia Friendly Schools and BDA Kitemark
- Co-existing conditions: ADHD
- Multilingualism and Dyslexia
- Co-existing conditions: Dyspraxia/ Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
- Co-existing conditions: Autistic Spectrum Conditions
There are now two routes into the MA SpLD. The most common route is to complete the four units above and a 15,000-18,000 word dissertation.
From September 2018, a second route is on offer in which you can take a Postgraduate Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties: Literacy and Numeracy and then progress to the dissertation year.
Students who take this route will study units 1 and 2 described above and the two units that form the Postgraduate Certificate in Dyscalculia. This route is also accredited by the British Dyslexia Association and on successful completion you will be eligible to apply for Approved Teacher Status and Approved Teacher Status Dyscalculia.
On successful completion of the PgDip SpLD/PgDip SpLD: Literacy and Numeracy and the dissertation, you will be awarded a Master’s degree in Specific Learning Difficulties.
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:
- Part-time 55% lectures, seminars or similar; 0% placement; 45% independent study
- Part-time 100% coursework; 0% practical; 0% examination
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.
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. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.
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