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Inclusion & Special Education Needs

Overview
As contemporary societies become more heterogeneous, and as inclusive education reforms gain currency across the world, educational systems are being challenged to address some fundamental questions about teaching and learning related to the accommodation of and respect for difference.

Underpinning the movement for inclusion is a concern for social justice and wellbeing. Meeting the diverse needs of learners within today's schools, colleges and universities, is one of the most challenging and important tasks facing education today.

This thoroughly revised Master's degree is unique not only because of the disciplinary approaches it employs, but also because students study and apply an approach to wellbeing that has been developed by some of the world's leading thinkers.

This is an approach that is internationally recognised by, for example, the UN, and whose principles are increasingly found in government policy on education and SEN, namely the Capability Approach. We are one of the very few institutions in the UK to offer this practical and ethical approach to assessing issues of SEN, equality and inclusion.

The skills you will develop include critical thinking skills and how best to be an inclusive practitioner. Importantly, this is a professionally based degree which means that you will apply what you have learned to your own professional practice whether you are a classroom assistant, SENCO or university lecturer.

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements
Graduate
A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline.

Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Duration

1 year full time / 3 years part time.

Teaching Times
Evenings from 5.30pm - 7.3-pm. The evening classes run for six weeks with one Saturday workshop for each module. The Saturday workshop is timetabled for each module from 10am – 4pm

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Introduction
Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their professional institutions in advising colleagues, influencing policy and supporting pupils and students.

The degree helps students reshape their thinking on special needs education and matters of inclusion, to question values and beliefs that were previously taken for granted. Importantly, a Master's degree in SEN/Inclusion will be of great advantage to professionals seeking promotion as we move towards a Masters-led teaching profession.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Employment after the Course
Most of the students on this course are practicing teachers in the nursery, primary, secondary sector. Students from further education and disability sectors also attend. Students take up employment, or continue to work in teaching, apply for promotion, or go on to undertake further degrees.

Employment Links
Education
Disability organisations
Further and Higher Education

Further enquiries

Dr Alison MacKenzie, Lecturer
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work - Lecturer
Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation
email: A.MacKenzie@qub.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5930

Subjects taught

Core Modules (compulsory, all 20 CATS points):

An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)
This module will provide you with an understanding of differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies and is required preparation for your research dissertation.

Deconstructing Special Needs Education and Inclusion
We will focus on deconstructing Special Needs Education and Inclusion by exploring how some popular approaches and behavioural theoretical models have influenced our understanding of SEN. Much of the 'knowledge' of special education is, arguably, misconceived and promotes inequality, rather than addresses it. In examining the consequences of, for example, labeling, we will consider a powerful rationale for inclusion based on theories of social justice.

Special Needs Education and Issues of Equity
We will examine how stereotyping and prejudice contribute to forms of 'epistemic injustice' whereby what certain groups of people know is given less credibility and weight simply because of their disability, sex, class or ethnicity. The testimony of members of stigmatized groups is likely to be discounted because of prejudicial beliefs and attitudes, which can magnify the effects of injustice as well as create others. Our judgments, as we will learn, are likely to be affected by implicit biases even when we think we're making judgments of scientific or argumentative merit. The effects of such epistemic injustice is the marginalisation and exclusion of already vulnerable such as the disabled, the working class, women, and people of colour.

Social Justice in Special Needs Education and Inclusion: A Capabilities Approach
We will explore some of the complexities of understanding equality in education and sketch some of the flaws with popular approaches to, and conceptions of disability and SEN. While all systems across the world espouse equal entitlement to education, the precise content of this goal is difficult to determine and agree upon. One approach which has emerged with considerable power and application is the Capabilities Approach (CA). The CA is an evaluative framework that entails two core normative claims: first, the claim that the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance, and second, that freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people's capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value.

Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) degree.

Comment

Inclusion and Special Educational Needs highlights
Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as 'internationally excellent or world leading' (REf, 2014).

Student Experience
•Flexibility This programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals and is delivered via blended learning (a mixture of face-to-face and online learning). Diploma and Certificate options are also available.

•Credit transfer Students who have completed other master's-level awards, eg PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer. The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.

Facilities
The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.

Assessment method

There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through a written assignment of 3000 words that is informed by the student's own professional practice and experience.

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year: 2019

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