Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching and Assessing in SpLDs in post-16 Education

The English Language Teaching Centre, The University of Sheffield

The English Language Teaching Centre offers a part-time, 2 year, largely distance-learning post-graduate diploma in the field of teaching and assessing in Specific learning Difficulties (SpLDs) in post-16 education. This course provides an in-depth exploration of both the theory and practice of teaching and assessing students identified with specific learning differences/ difficulties.

This course is aimed at current teachers in the further or higher education sector who are working with students with learning differences, and who would like to work towards a recognised specialist qualification in the field. It is led by highly experienced specialist teachers at The University of Sheffield and accredited by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).

Students who successfully complete this course will be qualified to offer specialist teaching and assessment in specific learning difficulties, and they will be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)*. Students will also be eligible to apply for an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) with the BDA or equivalent.

This course is BDA accredited and will begin in January 2018.

*Eligibility for AMBDA also requires 2 years experience in working with students identified with SpLDs.

Broad programme aims

This programme aims to give students a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of specialist teaching and assessment in dyslexia and specific learning difficulties, in the post-16 educational environment.

Course structure

This course is delivered largely at a distance, through use of online lectures and tutorials, over a 2 year period. However, students will need to attend the University for 2 teaching weekends per year in order to complete the module requirements.

Year 1:

PGD1 (30 credits) Dyslexia in FE/HE: theory to practice
PGD2 (15 credits) Dyslexia/ SpLDs in post-16 education
PGD3 (15 credits) Specialist teaching in SpLD in post-16 education

Year 2:

PGD4 (45 credits) Psychometric assessment: theory and practice
PGD5 (15 credits) Advanced specialist teaching in SpLD in post-16 education


This course is delivered largely online. This means that students access course lectures via MOLE (My Online Learning Environment), and make contact with their tutors and peers remotely. Students are asked to take part in online discussions relating to the lecture content.

Students are offered a number of one-to-one remote tutorials for each module.
Students are also be required to attend 2 weekend sessions per year at University.

Teaching and assessment practice

Over the 2 year course, students undertake 32 hours of teaching practice and administer and write up 3 SpLD assessments for learners.

Students are be responsible for sourcing learners with whom to undertake their practice.


Students undertake a variety separate assessments for the named modules, including periods of teaching practice and SpLD assessment practice. All of the assessed work provides evidence for the requirements of the British Dyslexia Association, and is collated into a comprehensive competency matrix towards the end of the course.

Half way thorough each year, students meet remotely with a tutor to undertake a mid-year review. This is intended as a supportive process, and allows students an opportunity to talk in depth about their progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants to this course should have a recognised teaching qualification (or equivalent experience) and at least 2 years’ experience teaching in post-16 education. Applicants should also have a good first degree.

Applicants should have excellent English language skills, and knowledge of study skills relevant to FE/HE.

It is essential that students undertaking this course are already working with SpLD students within, or in close connection to, post-16 educational institutions. Students will need to find learners studying in post-16 education with whom they can undertake their teaching and assessment practice. Students will also need access to the full battery of SpLD assessment tests, as the University of Sheffield will not be able to provide this. Potential applicants should therefore seek the support of the institution to which they are connected before they apply.

If you have any questions which you cannot find the answers to here, please contact Victoria Mann (course director)


If you are interested in applying for this course, please contact Kate Connery ( or Eve Rowland ( in the first instance. An application process will be made available soon.