University of the West of Scotland's online/distance learning Masters in Inclusive Education (MEd with exit points at Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma) is a part-time qualification aimed at teachers and other professionals teaching and/or supporting learning in mainstream schools or other inclusive educational settings.
Aligned with the UNESCO mission statement for Inclusive Education and with the Scottish Teacher Education Committee’s Framework for Inclusion, this UWS programme takes inclusive education to operate within the equality and human rights legislative context, aiming to remove barriers to learning and participation, and to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage for whatever reason.
With increasing diversity in society being reflected in the classroom, where children and young people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse abilities and needs learn together, we believe that it is becoming progressively more important that teachers and other professionals working in mainstream schools or other inclusive educational settings develop appropriate responses to diversity, and, through this master's programme, we aim to support them as they strive to make all learners feel included, and to provide for them learning experiences that are relevant and accessible.
There is no requirement to attend ‘face-to-face’ sessions on this innovative programme as it is offered by distance learning, using the UWS's virtual learning environment. Materials are supplied online and the system allows access to both electronic journals and e-books.
Participants are required to contribute to weekly discussion threads on themes relevant to the modules, and to complete assigned formative and summative assessment tasks.
Applicants must satisfy the specific admission requirements for Masters programmes offered by University of the West of Scotland and should normally hold an undergraduate degree in a related discipline.
English Language Requirements
Overseas students must meet UWS English language requirements.
There are three stages to the programme. The Postgraduate Certificate stage consists of three 20-credit SCQF Level 11/Master's level modules, and can be taken as a discrete programme or as the first step towards the Postgraduate Diploma, which also consists of three 20-credit Master's level modules.
Upon successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma, interested participants can undertake a dissertation on a relevant topic. Successful completion of the dissertation will lead to the award of MEd in Inclusive Education. Throughout the programme, participants are given opportunities to use the principles of practitioner enquiry, such as the need to engage in professional dialogue about, systematic reflection on, and evidence-based enhancement of practice to explore the themes of each module in their professional context.
The programme takes inclusive education to operate within the equality and human rights legislative context, aiming to remove barriers to learning and participation, and to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage for whatever reason.
The programme equips you with knowledge, understanding and skills that make you well-suited to pursue positions of responsibility in the areas of inclusion and support for learning.
You will start with the compulsory Inclusion and Equality module. Upon successful completion of this module you can undertake two of the following modules to complete the Certificate; and five of the following modules or four of the following modules plus a Research Methods module to complete the Diploma:
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Gifted and Talented
• Inclusive Enquiry
• Inclusive Practice
• Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Upon successful completion of the Diploma, and provided that you have studied the Research Methods module, you can progress to the MEd stage where you will undertake a dissertation on a relevant topic of your choice.
There is no requirement to attend ‘face-to-face’ sessions on this programme as it is offered by distance learning, using the UWS virtual learning environment.
Inclusion and Equality
This module focuses on what inclusive education is and on why it is important. The main dilemmas and tensions associated with the area are explored both from a historical perspective but also within the contemporary legislative context. Current trends and their application in the school environment are examined, and implications for practitioners are considered. A range of tasks and activities undertaken in the course of group and independent work help participants develop critical understanding of key principles of practitioner enquiry such as the need to engage in professional dialogue about, systematic reflection on, and evidence-based enhancement of practice in the area of inclusive education in light of inclusion, equality, diversity and social justice theories and research findings.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
This module provides participants with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to critically examine and evaluate a range of approaches and practices associated with the provision of support for ASD in mainstream schools or other inclusive educational settings. The module starts with an overview of the nature and origins of ASD and proceeds with a critical examination of common identification procedures and support strategies. In light of current educational theory and research in this area, participants are invited to identify the features of effective educational provision for learners with ASD, and to critically examine the concept of the ‘ASD friendly school’. Dyslexia
This module provides participants with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to critically examine and evaluate a range of approaches and practices associated with the provision of support for dyslexia in mainstream schools or other inclusive educational settings. The module starts with an overview of the nature and origins of dyslexia and proceeds with a critical examination of common identification procedures and support strategies. In light of current educational theory and research in this area, participants are invited to identify the features of effective educational provision for learners with dyslexia, and to critically examine the concept of the ‘dyslexia friendly school’. Gifted and Talented
This module aims to provide an overview of the main concepts, principles, issues, and challenges associated with the education within mainstream schools or other inclusive educational settings of learners who are considered to be gifted and talented. Participants explore the different ways in which ‘gift’ and ‘talent’ are conceptualised; examine the processes and procedures whereby gifts and talents are identified; and investigate the tensions potentially inherent in providing a curriculum that is inclusive and appropriately challenging for all pupils. Inclusive Enquiry
This module aims to provide participants with the opportunity to develop critical in–depth knowledge and understanding of an aspect of inclusive education which is of particular professional interest to them but is not covered in detail in any of the other modules of the Inclusive Education programme. The module provides a platform for participants to engage in a small scale practitioner enquiry, thus enabling them to examine the links between theory, research, policy and practice associated with their chosen enquiry.Inclusive Practice
This module provides participants with an opportunity to examine critically the conditions and processes associated with inclusive practice in education. A key focus of the module is the contribution of partnership working to effective inclusive practice. In addition, particular attention is focused on the transition process for learners requiring support as they progress from one stage to the next, e.g. from nursery to primary, primary to secondary, secondary to the post-secondary sector.Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
This module aims to promote participants’ understanding of the origins, nature, and implications for learning and teaching of Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD). This is achieved through exposure to different theoretical perspectives, and engagement with a range of relevant issues. Different support provision approaches are reviewed, and the main features of effective management of SEBD within inclusive learning communities are identified from the research literature.
Learning on this programme is the outcome of active engagement in the process of reflection on practice and on provided and self-selected readings, with a view to gaining insights that can be used to further the participants’ professional development.
The outcome of this reflection is expressed through comments posted on each module’s discussion board and through responses to assigned assessment tasks. As all these contributions are made through the medium of writing, it is essential that participants in the programme enjoy using this communication medium and have no concerns about the requirement to produce extended pieces of writing.
The teaching and learning strategy is designed to help participants achieve the learning outcomes associated with each module, while the assessment strategy provides them with a structured opportunity to demonstrate that they have actually achieved them and to gain formal recognition for this achievement. All modules are assessed summatively through reflective essays exploring key themes associated with each module. Formative assessment opportunities are built into each module. More information about the teaching, learning and assessment strategy can be provided by the Programme Leader, Dr Lisa McAuliffe, on request. Lisa can be contacted at:firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a part time programme and can be completed in 3 to 5 years, depending on the number of modules taken each year. Guidance and advice specific to individual circumstances can be provided by the Programme Leader, Dr Lisa McAuliffe, on request. Lisa can be contacted at:
Operating at SCQF Level 11/Master’s level, the programme introduces participants to a range of theories and research associated with the areas explored, and encourages them to develop a critical understanding of these and to exercise autonomy and initiative in how they use insights arising from their engagement with them to inform and enhance their practice.
We highlight for our participants the importance of evidence-based practice and we help them develop a critical understanding of the principles of practitioner enquiry, and of a range of research methodologies that can enable them to evaluate critically different practices, and to make informed decisions about what is relevant and appropriate for potential use in their professional context.
Through our assessed and non assessed work, we encourage participants to reflect on practice with which they are familiar (including their own) and to engage in professional dialogue with colleagues within and beyond their workplace with a view to finding out about processes and approaches that they could use to enhance their own practice.
Using coursework tasks as stimuli, our participants seek the views of local colleagues with expertise in various areas with the intention of learning from them how theory and research relate to practice in their specific context. There are several opportunities across the programme for participants to share with fellow participants insights gained through such engagement; such sharing is governed by strict ethical guidelines to which participants are introduced at the start of the programme.
To sum up, this is not a 'how to...' programme that offers tips, recipes, or off-the-shelf solutions. As outlined above, there is a practical side to it but it is up to individual participants to make the most of it.
Successful completion of 20 credit modules requires 200 ‘effort’ hours. This time commitment includes reading and reflecting on the academic articles and book chapters assigned for each coursework task; engagement in the task threads (both posting and reading the contributions of fellow participants and the tutor); completing additional relevant but self-selected reading; discussing topics relating to the module with colleagues and other professionals in the participants’ workplace or other professional context; and responding to the formative and summative assessment tasks. Details about the timetable of each module can be provided by the Programme Leader, Dr Lisa McAuliffe, on request. Lisa can be contacted at:
The Inclusive Education programme equips participants with knowledge, understanding and skills that make them well suited to pursue positions of responsibility in the areas of inclusion and support for learning.
Professional and personal development abilities are greatly enhanced, and graduates will be perfectly poised to undertake positions of leadership as well as seeking new opportunities in this exciting field.