Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN (Specific Learning Difficulties)

Accredited by the British Dyslexia Association for AMBDA, this SpLD course is ideal if you have at least two years’ experience of working with students with specific learning difficulties and want a qualification to be able to assess and diagnose dyslexia. This course is also recognised by the Joint Council for Qualifications as the appropriate training for completing Access Arrangements in Secondary Schools.

The Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN (Specific Learning Difficulties) may also be of interest to other approved professionals such as speech and language or occupational therapists and educational psychologists. Completion of this SpLD course allows you to apply to the British Dyslexia Association for either Approved Teacher Status (ATS or ATS HE/FE) or an Associate Membership of the BDA (AMBDA or AMBDA FE/HE).

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 2 Years September Newport City C
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 2 Years September Newport City C

You must pass four taught modules:

  • Understanding Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
  • Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Managing and Supporting Children and Young People with Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Research Methodology

Both SpLD modules focus not only upon specific difficulties in literacy and numeracy, but address the wider spectrum of potentially associated conditions, eg, dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.

You will gain knowledge of:

  • The vast range of differences within the SpLD continuum
  • Current research on the identification of learners experiencing problems with literacy and numeracy
  • Assessing individual learning needs, using both standardised and non-standardised methods
  • Planning programmes of work for individual pupils based on initial and ongoing assessment
  • The effects on learning, self esteem and behaviour of SpLD
  • Monitoring the progress of learners who may show uneven or intermittent standards of achievement
  • A variety of strategies and resources, including ICT and technical aids, for assisting pupil organisation, drafting and presentation of work
  • The monitoring, evaluation and auditing responsibilities within school or service, in respect of the quality of provision for pupils with SpLD


Students take two modules in year one, and two modules in year two. Both SpLD modules are taught on Monday evenings for three hours on campus over a period of 12 consecutive weeks.


The first module is assessed on the basis of a written assignment of 5,000 words (or equivalent).

The second module is assessed in two ways. For students seeking a professional award, the successful completion of 30 hours of teaching experience and assessment of relevant files (equivalent to 5,000 words). For other participants, one 5,000 word assignment, or the equivalent

Qualified Teacher Status plus teaching experience or a minimum of two years’ experience of supporting students with literacy difficulties in further or Higher Education.

Students choosing modules which have a placement component as part of the assessment process will need to provide evidence of a current enhanced DBS check (or its equivalent if you are an EU or international student).

If English is not your first language you should be able to demonstrate a level of at least IELTS 6.5 or equivalent (minimum score of 5.5 in each band).

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University for the SEN/ALN course.

Admissions statement 

Most students on the Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN (Specific Learning Difficulties) proceed to the MA dissertation, in order to achieve the award of MA SEN.

Following successful completion of the this SEN qualification, students have gained posts as school and college SENCOs, specialist tutors in SPLD services, set up their own SpLD consultancies, or become LEA Advisors. Others have published books and papers on the subject and gained doctorate awards.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.