Short courses


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): Developing Quality Inclusive Practice

  • 2 to 4 hours per unit
  • 14 units


This suite of online courses will give you the knowledge and skills you need to improve provision in your school for pupils with SEND. 

The units within SEND: Developing Quality Inclusive Practice can be taken at any time and in any order. This enables you to curate your own CPD pathway, learning at your own pace and focusing on your key areas of interest.

The course has 14 units, which you can book individually or as part of a bundle.

This course is run by the Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE) at IOE, UCL's faculty of education and society.

Who this course is for

The course is aimed at aspiring special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs), early career teachers, learning support assistants and teaching assistants.

Course content

The units are clustered within the four broad areas of need identified in the 2015 SEND Code of Practice:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and Physical Needs

There is also a further section called Inclusive Practice and Strategy.

Communication and Interaction

Speech, Language and Communication Needs

This unit will explore what is meant by communication and interaction with a focus on speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). It will define and identify characteristics of SLCN, consider the risk factors and explore strategies for enhancing children’s vocabulary skills.

It will help you: 

  • understand SLCN 
  • identify the characteristics and needs of children with SLCN and provide support to meet their needs

Understanding Autism

This unit is designed to give an overview of what autism is and how it is diagnosed. It will examine the strengths in an autistic profile and will look at common autism strategies (e.g. communication, classroom arrangement, visual support). 

It will help you:

  • understand what autism is
  • understand the strengths in an autistic profile 
  • use common autism strategies 
Cognition and Learning

Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)

In this unit, the term “cognition and learning” will be explored with a focus on specific learning difficulties (dyslexia). We'll define the six characteristics of dyslexia and consider strategies for supporting children struggling with literacy.

It will help you:

  • better understand the characteristics of dyslexia
  • identify the needs of children with literacy difficulties and provide support to meet their needs.

Dyscalculia and mathematical learning difficulties

At the end of this short course you'll:

  • have a better understanding of students who have mathematical learning difficulties or dyscalculia
  • be able to recognise what kind of difficulties and strategies these students show
  • understand how to refer students on for further support and diagnosis
Social, Emotional and Mental Health

Social, Emotional and Mental Health

This unit introduces the category "social, emotional and mental health (SEMH)" as defined by the SEND Code of Practice (2015). It explains why SEMH should be seen as a bio-psycho-social construct. From this perspective, we'll examine how schools and educational settings can best support young people and create a whole school environment that prioritises wellbeing.

The unit includes signposting to a range of open access resources to support you and your setting to promote wellbeing and mental health.

It will help you:

  • understand what is meant by the category “social, emotional and mental health”
  • understand the bio-psycho-social model of mental health and how this applies to schools
  • use signposted resources to improve mental health in educational settings
Sensory and Physical Needs

Developmental Coordination Disorder

This unit will focus on understanding developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and its presentation in the classroom.

It will help you:

  • understand the role of motor skills in broader development
  • understand DCD, how it is diagnosed, and the presentation of DCD in the classroom
  • be aware of how to support children with DCD

Visual Impairment

This unit is designed as an overview into sensory and physical needs.

You'll be reintroduced to the five senses, sensory processing, and strategies for compensating for sensory impairment using vision impairment as a basis. It also explores appealing to preserved senses when other senses are impaired.

The unit is designed as an introduction to supporting sensory needs and using practical strategies to encourage mobility, orientation, and independence skills.

It will help you:

  • understand the basics of the 5 senses and how they are processed
  • understand vision and the implications of vision impairment
  • be aware of habilitation and strategies to support sensory impairment

Multi-sensory impairment/ deafblindness

This unit is designed as an introduction to Multi-sensory Impairment/Deafblindness (MSI/DB). The unit: 

  • provides an overview of what the term MSI/DB means and explores its impact on development, with a particular focus on its implications for communication and interaction
  • explores the crucial role of senses other than vision and hearing
  • presents appropriate communication methods during interaction with people with MSI/DB.
  • provides practical strategies for professionals supporting multi-sensory needs in any setting.
Inclusive Practice and Strategy

Principles Underpinning Inclusive Practice

This unit will cover some of the key principles of inclusive practice and consider how they can be applied when teaching and supporting pupils who have, or may have, special educational needs.

Using a case study example, you'll learn about strategies for identifying and planning to remove barriers to learning. This will be used to support self-reflection on aspects of your practice which are working well and areas which might be developed.

It will help you:

  • understand key principles of inclusive practice, including: the graduated approach, 'assess, plan, do, review' cycles, and removing barriers to learning
  • identify barriers to learning, and know some strategies to help remove common barriers
  • identify aspects of practice which are working well and areas for development

High Quality Teaching

This unit examines the role of high quality teaching in creating inclusive schools. High quality teaching is characterised by a whole school ethos that embraces inclusion. Lessons are designed with all pupils in mind and small adjustments are made to make the curriculum accessible to all pupils.

This unit introduces strategies that promote high quality teaching. These are supplemented by resources which illustrate great practice and will help you reflect on and continuously improve your teaching practices.

It will help you:

  • understand what is meant by the term “high quality teaching”
  • be aware of classroom practice to support inclusion and apply this to you own educational context

Working with Teaching Assistants

This unit will consider how to work with and manage the work of additional adults from a class teacher’s perspective. The purpose of this unit is to unpack some of the key issues that a class teacher needs to think about when working with teaching assistants. This will be used to support self-reflection on aspects of practice which are working well and areas which might be developed.

It will help you:

  • understand the key issues that teachers need to think about in managing the work of additional adults 
  • identify aspects of practice which are working well and areas for development

Education, Health and Care Plans

This unit will help you support the identification and assessment of pupils with SEN and understand how to apply for, write and maintain a successful EHCP.

It will help you:

  • be aware of how high quality teaching is the foundation for a successful EHCP
  • understand the legal and statutory framework for EHCPs
  • write SMART targets
  • apply what you've learnt in your own educational context

Interpreting Standardised Scores

This session will explore a range of terms used in assessment reports to describe abilities, to increase delegates’ understanding and skills in interpreting them effectively.

Specifically, this session will: 

  • Increase your understanding of normal distribution and standard deviations
  • Increase your understanding of the standard scores and scaled scores used when reporting on psychological assessments
  • Assist you in becoming familiar with the descriptors used when reporting on psychological assessments

Working with Parents and Caregivers as Partners

The aim of this session is that, by the completion of this course, delegates will have achieved the following outcomes: 

  • Developed a further understanding of the three dimensions of parenting
  • Developed an awareness of the complexities of parenting, and how this applies to children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Have a basic understanding of the skills that you can use to develop an effective partnership with parents and caregivers

    Teaching and structure 

    This is a self-paced online course consisting of fourteen units, which can be booked and completed individually or as part of a bundle.

    Each unit takes between 2 and 4 hours to complete and involves:

    • activities (e.g. short films with reflective questions, research papers, articles, quiz)
    • a pre-recorded lecture with accompanying slides delivered by an academic from IOE
    • a range of additional resources


    After you complete each unit, you will be able to print a certificate of attendance.

    Learning outcomes

    This course will help you:

    • understand the four categories of need as defined in the Code of Practice 2015
    • identify a child with a special educational need 
    • explore a range of strategies to improve support for children with SEND in your educational setting 
    • apply new knowledge, understanding and skills to your educational setting to improve access for learning for children with special educational needs and disability

    Costs and booking

    The cost of one unit is £25.

    Discounts are available if you book 5, 10 or 20 units. Individuals can book bundles of multiple units, or schools can book bundles of units for members of staff. After booking a bundle, you'll be contacted to arrange access to specific units.

    Cost of bundles:

    • 5 units: £112.50 (10% discount, saving £12.50)
    • 10 units: £212.50 (15% discount, saving £37.50)
    • 20 units: £400 (20% discount, saving £100)

    To discuss bundles in more detail, please email inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk

    Learner reviews

    Feedback for unit Social, emotional and mental health:

    "The presentation was clear and engaging. The use of video clips demonstrating practice in schools was also useful. I liked how, throughout the course, we were asked to refer back to pupils in our care and how we could improve our practice/the school environment to support them fully." [Assistant Head and SENDCO]

    "The activity was thought provoking and well-structured and I like how I was asked to return to it and update it after watching the slides/video. I found the slides/video very informative and clear and easy to follow. The links to resources were useful. I enjoyed watching the videos in settings." [SENDCO]

    Course information last modified: 4 Jan 2024, 15:53