• University of Leeds

Inclusive Education: Exploring SEND Practice and Strategies

Discover versatile SEND strategies to support diverse learners and foster inclusive classrooms with the University of Leeds.

1,111 enrolled on this course

cute little girl with Down syndrome showing her painted hands.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    1 hour
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade

  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

Transform your approach to inclusive education by exploring the nature of SEND

Nearly 1.5 million children in the UK have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), about 16.5% of the total student population. This makes it crucial for educators, caregivers, and family members of those with special needs to be equipped with the knowledge to support these learners effectively.

This four-week, introductory course from the University of Leeds delves into SEND, focusing on inclusive strategies and teaching methods through practical applications.

Learn practical support strategies for special education

Begin this course by exploring various support strategies tailored for special education settings. These strategies are designed to enhance learning experiences and address the specific needs of individuals with disabilities.

By exploring models of disability, you’ll learn how to approach supporting individuals with disabilities in educational contexts.

Gain insights about diverse learners from real-world experiences

Through practical case studies, you’ll deepen your understanding of SEND and the ways to support young and mature students with Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and dyslexia.

Become an advocate for learners with special educational needs 

Empower inclusive education and champion the rights of individuals with SEND by discussing legislative frameworks and policy guidelines with a dynamic learning community dedicated to fostering inclusivity.

Discover pathways for transformative learning and careers in education

You’ll wrap up this course by exploring additional SEND resources, career opportunities, and additional education programmes offered by the University of Leeds.

By the end, you’ll be prepared to help individuals with SEND thrive in educational environments by identifying and addressing their specific needs effectively.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds SPEAKER: Embark on a transformative learning journey over just four weeks, exploring Special Educational Needs and Disabilities practice. Through the stories of four inspiring individuals, go beyond labels to discover the reality of SEND. Gain insight into medical and social models of disability that will reshape your perspectives and deepen your understanding. Engage in thought-provoking activities and reflection, and in Week 1 examine the influence of current legislation and policy on shaping SEND practice. In Week 2, meet George, who has Down syndrome and Vinita, who has cerebral palsy. Walk in their shoes through interactive storytelling, gaining insights into their lived experience. Week 3 focuses on practical strategies and support for individuals with dyslexia and autism spectrum condition.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds By exploring scenarios with Holly and Akia, at home, at school, and in the community, and learning from mature students studying SEND at university. In our final week, explore diverse opportunities in SEND, access information, advice and inspiring stories from SEND graduates and plan your next steps for a career in SEND or further education. Join us on a journey of compassion and growth.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

    • Welcome

      In this activity Anita, the course educator, introduces you to the course and provides an overview of what the course will cover. You will also take a short poll to check your confidence regarding your knowledge of SEND.

    • People, definitions and ways of thinking about SEND

      In this activity you will watch a video about good practice in SEND support. You will also be introduced to some definitions of SEND and four individuals with SEND who you will learn more about later in the course.

    • Models of disability

      In this activity you will explore the social and medical models of disability. You will hear about the four areas of need and think about how these relate to the four individuals with SEND you were introduced to previously.

    • Summary

      This section provides a summary of key points from Week 1 to enable you to review and raise any questions. You can also access a Glossary with short definitions of key terms used throughout the course.

  • Week 2

    The range of special educational needs and disabilities

    • About Week 2

      In this activity you will find out what is coming up in Week 2 and share your experiences in relation to the medical and social models of disability that were introduced in Week 1.

    • Case studies: George and Vinita

      In this activity you will learn more about George and Vinita and the support strategies and adjustments for their SEND needs.

    • Summary

      This section provides a summary of key points from Week Two.

  • Week 3

    Good practice in SEND support

    • About Week 3

      In this activity you will find out what is coming up in Week 3.

    • SEND support practice in educational settings and at home

      In this activity you will watch some students discuss the social model of disability and be introduced to some of the strategies and adjustments that can support individuals with needs in the classroom and at home.

    • Case studies: Holly and Akia

      In this activity you will learn more about Holly and Akia and the strategies and adjustments that support their needs.

    • Summary

      This section provides a summary of what you learned in Week 3.

  • Week 4

    What's next for you?

    • About Week 4

      Introduction to Week 4.

    • Exploring sources of support

      In this activity you can find out more information about organisations that support individuals with SEND and complete a short exercise by matching these to each of the individuals from the case studies.

    • Planning your next steps in SEND

      In this activity you will discuss your next steps in SEND and further your interest by exploring additional information, such as charity and volunteering opportunities in the sector.

    • Summary

      This section summarises your journey through the whole course to enable you to review what you have learned. It also introduces next steps, such as further study.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify and explain the nature of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
  • Analyse the range of SEND needs.
  • Describe and evaluate appropriate strategies to support an identified SEND need, including examples of evidence-based practice, approaches and methods, including assistive technology.
  • Discuss and evaluate ways in which SEND needs can be supported within educational settings and at home.
  • Access further information about a range of SEND organisations and providers, including screening and diagnostic services, enabling engagement in their local and national SEND community.
  • Identify further education, degree, and career opportunities in SEND and SEND support as well as opportunities more widely within education and social care.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed to help learners promote inclusive learning and equitable classroom environments through SEND applications and strategies.

It’s ideal for individuals pursuing a career in education, looking to upskill for SEND-related roles, or current educators, caregivers, or family members of those with special educational needs or disabilities.

You’ll gain a comprehensive overview of SEND principles and practices throughout this course, so no prior knowledge is needed to join.

Who will you learn with?

I am a lecturer and Programme Manager in Learning and Teaching with SEND at the Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds. My professional interests focus particularly on autism practice.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

What's included?

University of Leeds are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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