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EQ927-30 Special Educational Needs and Evidence-based Practices

Department Education Studies

Level Taught Postgraduate Level

Module leader Dr Dimitra Hartas

Credit value 30

Module duration 10 weeks

Assessment 100% coursework

Study location University of Warwick main campus, Coventry


The module examines current research, policy and practice about special educational needs by delineating the academic, social and behavioural profiles of children with different types of need (e.g., autism, intellectual disability). In parallel, the module focuses on evidenced based approaches: i.e., approaches to intervention that have been shown to be effective for improving children’s outcomes. We review peer reviewed journal articles to examine research in SEND and how it informs policy and practice in the field.

Principle Module Aims and Outcomes
  • To develop students' awareness of disability and special educational needs; to increase students' knowledge of the characteristic profiles, including strengths and needs, of children with particular special educational needs such as learning disabilities (intellectual disabilities), autism spectrum disorders and specific learning difficulties.
  • To describe new policy developments regarding SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years (DfE, DoH, 2014- Education, Health and Social Care); to provide an overview of the policy and practice of inclusion, its underpinnings, and the research that examined its effectiveness.
  • To provide students with an increased awareness of evidence based approaches in educational practice; to critically examine the effectiveness of available methods and interventions in addressing the needs of students with special educational needs.
  • To consider the interplay between context and children's developmental outcomes (ie community-level factors such as deprivation and family-level factors such as the home environment); to examine evidence based approaches as applied in several contexts (classroom, school, home, community) to improve children's outcomes.
  • To gain increased knowledge of evidence-based practices derived from the science of applied behaviour analysis; to gain experience of using these to address learning and behavioural needs of children with special educational needs as stand-alone methods or as part of complex interventions.
  • To develop knowledge about the UK and international developments on evidence-based practice in the field of SEN education.
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): Current UK policy and practice What is behaviour?
  • Inclusion: policy, practice and effectiveness Measuring Behaviour
  • Academic outcomes of children with special educational needs Consequences- Reinforcement
  • Intellectual Disabilities (Learning Disabilities) Consequences- Punishment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders Antecedent variables
  • Specific Learning Difficulties Developing new behaviour (helping hierarchies)
  • Language and Communication Decreasing behaviour
  • Behaviour problems and Mental Health Functional analysis
  • Early Years Measuring progress and evaluating change
  • Evidence-based practice beyond the school environment (community, family) Building multi-component interventions
Study time
Type Required Optional
Lectures 10 sessions of 2 hours (7%)  
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (3%)  
Tutorials (0%) 1 session of 15 minutes
Private study 270 hours (90%)  
Total 300 hours  
5000 Word Assignment/ Essay 100%
Module Information

This module is a core module on MA Psychology and Education, and an optional module on MA Childhood in Society, MA Education, MA Educational Innovation, MA Educational Leadership and Management, MA Islamic Education: Theory and Practice, and MA Global Education and International Development

Student Opinions

"I particularly enjoyed one of my core modules – 'Special Educational Needs and Evidence-Based Practice'. The module has provided me with a strong awareness and understanding of the types of disabilities and the ways to support people with disabilities in an educational setting, which I believe will be helpful and enhance my career." - JinJue, MA Psychology and Education