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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

EDUC3271: Responding to Special Educational Needs

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To study conceptualisations of special educational needs and related forms of support,understanding and intervention.
  • To develop an interactive perspective of special needs based on the study of educational, historical, social, psychological, pedagogical, cultural andindividual perspectives.
  • To develop a critical approach to analysing special needs policy and practice.


  • Exploring notions of inclusion
  • Understanding SEN and Disability- dimensions, perspectives and models
  • Exploring educational responses to SEN and Disability
  • Examining language, labelling and diagnosis and their roles in education 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 current research and inquiry in the field of special educational needs.
  • An understanding of how special needs are characterised and identified
  • An understanding of how and why students’ educational experiences are shaped by policy and legislation relating to special educational needs
  • A critical understanding of inclusive education policies and practices
  • Specific interest and expertise in an issue or special need that will inform the final, summative assessment
  • 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 conceptualized and characterized 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 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 concepts to others
  • The ability to undertake an independent critique of current research

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

  • This module will be taught through lectures, seminars, digital video material and tutorials. Special Education is a broad and complex area which is approached from many disciplinary perspectives. As a result, Statutory Codes of Practice and Guidance will be shared as will suggested 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 two pieces of published research whose substantive foci will be a preparation for the final assessment, either through the coursework or examination.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

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

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words 50% No
One piece of critical analysis 2000 words 50% No

Formative Assessment:

In this part, you will be given a written assignment (1500 words) offering a critical analysis of a question about inclusive education. Assignment will be marked and returned in 4 weeks.

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

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

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