Special Educational Needs

Course Overview

The programme aims to give fully qualified serving teachers working in SEN teaching roles in their schools and other recognised educational services a thorough professional knowledge and understanding of special needs and learning difficulties, and to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to support the education of those with special needs and learning difficulties in various contexts. In doing so, the programme also aims to provide enjoyable and rewarding learning experiences and be responsive to learners’ needs.

The programme is supported by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and provides a recognised qualification for teachers working in the area of special educational needs and learning support in mainstream and special settings. Programme fees are paid by the DES. The programme is delivered by a core team supported by a cohort of associate lecturers with a range of experience and expertise.

Course Outline

The programme consists of five modules:

- Inclusion: Perspectives and Implications for Practice

- Assessment, Planning and Applications

- Curricular Issues for Special Educational Needs

- Implications of Educational Disability

- Specialist Study.

The programme involves release from schools/centres for designated block periods of a total of eight weeks over the academic year, with substitute cover provided. In addition, some lectures and workshops take place on Saturdays. The programme also includes supervised work in teachers’ own schools/centres and a four-day placement in a special setting other than their own.

Key to the programme are inclusive approaches to teaching and learning, which are discussed and demonstrated. Teachers are supported in implementing such approaches in their schools. Participants are encouraged to engage with the programme, and emphasis is placed on developing the skills required to become effective, reflective practitioners in the field of special educational needs.

Entry requirements

To be eligible, applicants must be graduates and qualified teachers registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland and have a designated teaching role in relation to students with special educational needs. Further eligibility criteria are included in the DES circular available at: www.education.ie

Additional Requirements

Garda Vetting/police clearance is required for this programme.

Application dates

Closing Date: The closing date for completed applications is given on the DES circular.


1 year part-time.

Enrolment dates

Next start date: September 2024.

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities

Qualified teachers who graduate from this programme are recognised by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) for positions as special education teachers (SETs) in mainstream and special settings.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider