Special Educational Needs (SEN) - Advanced Course Online | learndirect

Special Educational Needs (SEN) - Advanced


People with special educational needs have a higher chance of leading happy, fulfilling and successful lives provided they have the right support. This is why it is important that education in this area is provided for carers, teachers, parents, teaching assistants and society as a whole. 

This course is a step up from our Special Education Needs course which means students are able to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of this complex issue. Starting off by defining the key principles of Special Education Needs, then progressing through the work to be able to explain the two models of disability and being able to understand how to effectively assess and identify moderate learning difficulties. The learner will also learn how to investigate topics like autism, speech and language and emotional difficulties.

This advanced course is a step up which is ideal for anyone who has completed our standard SEN course to gain greater understanding and knowledge of the subject. This qualification can also be of use for anyone who works and spends time with individuals who have learning difficulties.

How does the course work? 

Students will study this distance learning course from home, fitting your study time around other commitments such as work and family life. You will be responsible for scheduling your own study time. The amount of study hours is dependent on how much time you dedicate to your studies as well has how well you grasp the learning materials.

After each lesson, you will be given a question paper which you will need to complete and send to your tutor, you should allow 1-2 hours of study time to each paper. This will make the approximate amount of time to complete this course 120 hours. 

It is also not essential that you study the standard SEN course first but it may come in useful. If a student is confident in their abilities, they may progress directly onto this course. It is important that students are willing to dedicate the time to study independently at home.


Module One: Definitions and key principles of special educational needs (SEN)
At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Outline a working definition of special educational needs referring to the law and what this means in practice

2. Provide a brief explanation of the main theories of learning development

3. Explain what personalisation is, how it is different from differentiation in learning, and how it may be beneficial to children with SEN

4. Understand key principles of coaching and mentoring for children with SEN and how parents can assist, and be assisted, with supporting the learning process

5. Understand the different ways in which children with SEN can be monitored and assessed for outcome achievement

Module Two: Moderate learning disabilities
At the end of this module, students will be able to:
1. Outline the main ‘events’ throughout education history that have informed our current working knowledge defining moderate learning disabilities, and of educating children with these

2. Provide a brief explanation of the two models of disability, and explain ‘false opposition’ and its implications on the ways in which we educate children with moderate learning disabilities.

3. Understand perceptions of, and attitudes to children with moderate learning disabilities, and how to make these more positive in the classroom

4. Understand the effects moderate learning disabilities can have on a child’s abilities to form long-term social relationships

5. Understand effective processes of assessing and identifying moderate learning disabilities

Module Three: Autism
At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Outline the condition of autism according to the triad of impairments and sensory problems, and understand how these might affect a young person’s learning

2. Explain some of the key psychological theories about autism

3. Provide a brief overview of a variety of interventions, including TEACCH that can be used at school to assist a child with autism in learning

4. Help to assist with identifying the needs of a child with autism (strengths & weaknesses profile, SCERTS assessment process, self-assessment, pupil involvement)

5. Discuss how teachers and assistants at school can assist parents and families with educational support of their child

Module Four: Behavioural, social, and emotional difficulties
At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Understand the difficulties a child may have around social skills and emotional competencies, and how this may affect them at school

2. Understand the government ‘social and emotional aspects of learning’ (SEAL) programme.

3. Understand the principles of the five main psychological approaches to understanding behaviour

4. Understand the ways in which genetic factors are understood to link with environmental factors and influence behaviour in children.

5. Describe some of the therapeutic approaches that can be used to help children with behavioural, social, and emotional problems

Module Five: Specific learning difficulties
At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Understand the core features of the four main specific learning difficulties, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia

2. Explain the principles of good practice associated with teaching reading and writing

3. Describe good practice approaches for teaching children with dyscalculia

4. Describe the ways in which dyspraxia can affect a child’s learning, and how certain teaching practices can assist the learning process

Module Six: Speech and language, and global communication issues
At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Describe the different aspects of speech, language, and communication issues that may be experienced by pupils, and which pupils may be more at risk of these problems

2. Describe typical speech and language development milestones

3. Understand the principles of Wave 3 interventions for SLCN, and how these can be made effective

4. Understand the principle of provision mapping, and how it can help children with SLCN

5. Understand how to set targets and measure the progress of pupils with SLCN


There are no requirements for previous qualifications or experience to enrol on this course. It is available to all students.


Assessment for this course is online through our Virtual Learning Environment. Learners are required to submit assignments after each of their 6 units followed by a 'Final' paper.



On completion of your course, you will receive two certificates:

Certificate 1 is issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges: Special Educational Needs (SEN) - Advanced Diploma

Certificate 2 is issued by ABC Awards: Level 4 Special Educational Needs (SEN) - Advanced Certificate of Achievement

This course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards’ Quality Licence Scheme which means learndirect have undergone an external quality check which ensures that the course meet a certain quality criteria. 

The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification. However, it may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. This unit can also be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if students wish to progress their studies in this sector. 

The learning outcomes in this course have been benchmarked at Level 4 against the descriptors published by Ofqual, indicating the depth and difficulty of study involved in a successful completion by the learner. 

Once you have successfully completed this course, you will have an in depth knowledge of issues and practices which surround SEN. If you wish to extend on this knowledge, you can choose to apply for a degree in a related area.
It is possible to enter into different career roles which are specific in helping learners with special needs and learning disabilities. One of the most common being an SEN teacher, these can work in specialist SEN schools, nurseries or even colleges, offering great satisfaction and earning potential.
More jobs relating to this course include:
Teaching assistant
Nursery nurse

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