Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

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

Department: Education

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

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to X1C8
Tied to XL33
Tied to X305
Tied to X101
Tied to LA01
Tied to LMV0
Tied to X1F8
Tied to X102
Tied to X103
Tied to X306
Tied to X308
Tied to X3F8
Tied to X2F8
Tied to XC81
Tied to XC82
Tied to X3L3
Tied to X2L3


  • 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 Learn Ultra, 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 Learn Ultra. Each seminar will be centred upon examining pieces of published research whose substantive foci will be a preparation for the assessment.
  • Summative assessment will comprise of an academic poster on a specific SEND, linking directly to module themes (select one of several themes).
  • Formative opportunities will be offered before the 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
Seminar to prepare for the assessment 1 1 hour 1
Preparation and reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Academic Poster 1000 words or equivalent. 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Students will be given opportunities for formative feedback before the summative assessment. A seminar will be held to prepare students on how to create an academic poster.

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