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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Education

EDUC1531: Disability and Educational Needs: What's so 'Special' about SEND?

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to X1C8 Education Studies - Psychology
Tied to XL33 Education Studies - Sociology
Tied to X305 Education Studies
Tied to X101 Primary Education
Tied to LA01 Liberal Arts
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Tied to X1F8 Education Studies - Geography
Tied to X102 Primary Education (with Year Abroad)


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To explore definitions inclusion as it relates to education.
  • To study conceptualisations of Special Educational Needs, Disability and related forms of support, understanding and intervention in educational practice.
  • To develop a critical approach to analysing and evaluating policy and practice as they impact on individual learners.
  • To develop a multi-layered perspective of Special Educational Needs and Disability based on the study of educational, historical, social, psychological, pedagogical, cultural and individual perspectives.


  • This level 1 module will encourage a view that all individuals have varying degrees of skills and untapped potential for living lives of quality, meaning and purpose within society, though this stance will be critically evaluated.
  • This module will explore how policy impacts education and the lives of learners.
  • This module will explore different ways of understanding SENDs, and the challenges inherent with these different conceptualisations.
  • In the module we will spend time exploring several specific SENDs and their implications for learners, teachers and wider society.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, the students should be able to demonstrate:
  • A critical understanding of contemporary research and inquiry in the field of special educational needs and Disability.
  • An understanding of how Special Educational needs and Disabilities are characterised and identified with reference to specific SENDs.
  • An awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and Developmental Language Disorders as areas of specific focus to explore understandings of wider module themes.
  • An understanding of how policy and legislation can have an impact on students’ educational experiences.
  • A critical understanding of inclusive education policies and practices.
  • An informed, reflective and reflexive approach to the field of special education, whether as a teacher, educational professional, policy maker or citizen.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to critically evaluate how special needs are conceptualised and characterised and the ways in which these judgments effect the educational experiences of individuals
  • The ability to critically evaluate research relating to special educational needs
  • The ability to link educational policies to practices in education
  • The ability to identify the practical and theoretical implications of research relating to the inclusion of learners considered ‘special’
Key Skills:
  • The ability to participate in debates/discussions
  • The ability to research specific topics of interest and communicate findings related to knowledge and understanding of concepts to others
  • The ability to undertake an independent critique of current research
  • The ability to present and communicate about defined topics in both academic writing and in poster form

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be taught through interactive lectures, seminars, digital video material and tutorials. Special Education and Disability are a broad and complex area of study which can be approached from many disciplinary perspectives. As a result, a range of materials including policy, and multi- disciplinary research will be put on DUO, as will particular readings and other papers. Throughout the module you will also be expected to read and research your own particular areas of interest that you will develop, as well as actively pursuing other material to which you will be directed through DUO. Each seminar will be centred upon examining pieces of published research whose substantive foci will be a preparation for the assessments.
  • Summative Assessments will comprise: Poster on a specific SEND (select 1 of 5 possible); a 2000 word assignment about the impact of ideology on policy and practice in relation to SENDs.
  • Formative opportunities will be offered before each summative assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Twice Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Preparation and reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,000 words 70% Yes
Academic Poster 750 words or equivalent 30% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Students will be given opportunities for formative feedback before each summative assignment. Each assignment will typically be returned 4 weeks after submission.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

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