Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN (Specific Learning Difficulties)

This course is dually accredited by the university and the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) at either an approved teacher/practitioner (ATS/APS) level or the associated membership (AMBDA) level.

The Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN is ideal for those who are working with children, young people or adults with specific learning difficulties and want a recognised qualification in this field, in particular those who are working in Education (SENCos/ALNCOs, specialist teachers, one to one tutors within FE/HE together with learning support staff across a range of settings).

Students who complete the course and meet the BDA requirements for specialist teacher status can if they wish make an application to the BDA for either an approved teacher/practitioner (ATS/APS) level or the associated membership (AMBDA) level.

This SEN/ALN course may also of interest to professionals working in health such as Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists and other non-statutory organisations.

The Postgraduate Diploma SEN/ALN course offers an in-depth focus on contemporary perspectives of dyslexia and inclusive practice together with the opportunity to widen students’ theoretical understanding through research and evaluation within their respective professional roles.

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 will study four taught modules:

  • SEN/ALN: Contexts and Concepts
  • Dyslexia theory and assessment (ATS/AMBDA)
  • Working with Dyslexia: Linking theory, Assessment and Practice (ATS/AMBDA)
  • Research Methodology

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 course is designed to enable experienced practitioners in education and related professions to critically engage in the social, political and global debates relating to the assessment, intervention and learning experiences of children, young people and adults with dyslexia. It is also designed to encourage greater understanding and a critical appreciation of the trends and developments in dyslexia assessment and intervention across schools and relevant settings. The course offers an in-depth focus on contemporary perspectives of dyslexia and inclusive practice together with the opportunity to widen students’ theoretical understanding through research and evaluation within their respective professional roles.



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


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

  • Qualified Teacher Status plus teaching experience or a minimum of two years’ experience of supporting students with literacy difficulties in further or Higher Education.
  • An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on the Child Workforce and Child Barring List and subscription to the DBS Update Service. (Overseas equivalent required for non-uk applicants)

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

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 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Part-time UK:  £1140 per 20 credits

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Teaching practice observations for Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) * £400
Teaching practice observations are compulsory for the Post Graduate Diploma
Additional assessment or memberships: Professional body student fees for AMBDA * £800
Associate Membership of British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) (British Dyslexia Association)
DBS * £55.42
This fee includes £40 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS Updating Service * £13
Subscription required for each year of the course for a yearly fee of £13. Please note the service has to be joined within 30 days of receipt of your enhanced DBS certificate.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

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 Masters in 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.

Holders of AMBDA accreditation are recognised as specialists in Dyslexia/Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs); are qualified to conduct specialist diagnostic assessments; Exam Access Arrangements and to deliver specialist teaching programmes to learners with Dyslexia/SpLD.

The JCQ Access Arrangements criteria (7.3.4) for a Specialist Assessor map onto those for AMBDA. Therefore, holders of AMBDA have the right to assess for, and diagnose Dyslexia/SpLDs and make recommendations for Exam Access Arrangements (EAA). When applying for AMBDA, after the successful completion of a BDA accredited course, such as this, applicants are also eligible to apply for an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) without additional training.