Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia

  • Award: MA/MTeach, PG Dip, PG Cert
  • School: School of Education
  • UK/EU Fees: Tuition fees are £6,400 for full-time study
  • International Fees: £11,300
  • Fees and Finance Information
  • Course length: The MA/MTeach can be completed full-time in one year or part-time over up to six years.
  • Campus: Newton Park and other offsite locations with partners

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How to Apply

Bath Spa University offers a Professional Master’s Programme pathway in Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) / Dyslexia which focuses upon identification, assessment and practical support for learners of all ages with SpLD / Dyslexia.

  • Are you a teacher or teaching assistant who would like to develop specialist skills?
  • Do you have a minimum of two year's experience within an educational context and are you looking for a higher specialist qualification?
  • Does your work involve vulnerable learners?
  • Would you like to develop the skills to support learners with SPLD / Dyslexia?
  • Would you like the opportunity to apply to the British Dyslexia Association for their sought after Approved Teacher Status (ATS), Associate Membership (AMBDA) and Assessment Practising Certificate (APC)?
  • Would you like to be able to combine this with working towards a part or full-time PG Master’s Degree or PG Diploma?

Why study Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia?

Acquiring these specialist skills can open the door to many career opportunities within and beyond the school and college context.

Key Features

The opportunity to combine an academic but practically oriented course alongside (on completion of the required professional practice):

  1. Gaining Approved Teacher Status (ATS) or Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).
  2. Applying for the Patoss Practising Assessor’s Certificate.

Course structure

The course is offered in both full and part-time modes. It is normally one year duration in full-time mode or the master’s can be completed in up to five years in part-time mode.

The three SPLD/Dyslexia modules (TT7364, TT7365 and TT7369) comprise taught sessions and assessed projects.

Completion of the first 60 credit module on the course (TT7364 – Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD/Dyslexia) leads to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in SpLD/Dyslexia, and subsequent completion of the 30 credit second module (TT7365 – Assessment Methodology for SpLD/Dyslexia) alongside the taught module (TT7369 – Identifying and Overcoming Maths Difficulties) or a 30 credit Independent study, leads to the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in SpLD/Dyslexia. Successful completion of modules TT7364 and TT7365 alongside successful submission of research training (PR7101 and PR7102) and a Dissertation (PR7120) in the final part of the course will lead to the award of a Master's in SpLD/Dyslexia.

The course combines theory and practice through workshops, case studies, research, analysis, assignments and the justification of your professional practice and experience through the application and evaluation of research.


The MA in SPLD/Dyslexia focuses upon identification, assessment and practical support for learners of all ages with SpLD/Dyslexia. The modules can combine direct academic teaching and study at master’s level at the University to obtain the academci awards of PG Cert/Dip or Masters in SpLD/Dyslexia with the optional development of practical competence required to obtain AMBDA accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) through professional practice supervised by expert tutors.

Alongside research training modules (PR7101 and PR7102; 30 credits) and a supervised dissertation (PR7120: 60 credits), the full time programme includes:

  • Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD / Dyslexia (TT7364):The first phase of the pathway provides 60 M-level credits on submission of the academic assignments. It develops the ability to carry out assessments to compile an individual learning profile to underpin the development and teaching of individualised programmes for learners with SpLD/Dyslexia across a range of contexts. Methods and strategies to develop the inclusive practices which can support learners across the curriculum are also explored. The module consists of two master’s level units of 30 M level credits, each, amounting to 60 hours face to face tuition, assignments plus a commitment to independent study time. The total of twenty 3 hour sessions (60 hours) will run as twilight sessions on Wednesdays from 5-8pm at the Newton Park campus.
    • Semester One – October to December – will focus upon the identification of the learning differences underpinning SpLD / Dyslexia and their impact upon the development of literacy.
    • Semester Two – January to March - will focus upon the experience and evaluation of programmes and methodologies to support the development of literacy and cross curricular study skills for learners with dyslexia.
  • Assessment Methodology for SpLD / Dyslexia (TT7365): This module will develop the ability to undertake full diagnostic assessments for dyslexia to inform programmes and appropriate support, such as Examination Access Arrangements. This module comprises 36 hours face to face tuition, professional practice based assignments, plus a commitment to private study. It is likely to be delivered through two full day workshops (one Saturdays and one weekday) and seven twilight sessions on Tuesdays between October 2012 and January 2013. Submission of the (optional) professional practice portfolio alongside academic practice-based assignments will obtain dual accreditation enabling suitably qualified teachers and speech and language therapist professionals to gain the sought after BDA Approved Teacher Status (ATS), on completion of TT7364, or AMBDA (TT7365). Tutor support for the portfolio will cost £400for each of the two modules (Total £800).
  • Identifying and Overcoming Maths difficulties TT7369-30: The focus is upon developing an understanding of the difficulties faced by primary or secondary students with SpLD/dyslexia or dyscalculia when learning mathematics and how to help students overcome these challenges. You will use observation, discussion, standardised and informal testing, along with the research of other professionals to identify the difficulties and develop the skills and strategies needed to overcome them using a multi-sensory approach. You will be helped to select suitable written and concrete materials to be used when teaching pupils with these learning profiles. You will learn to develop, deliver and evaluate individualised structured, multi-sensory numeracy programmes based upon interpretation of assessment data. 

Course assessment

There are no written exams and each module is assessed by coursework. This typically involves 5,000 words for a 30 credit module. The dissertation is 7,500–10,000 words and worth 30 credits. It focuses on an area linked with SpLD/dyslexia mutually agreed with a specialist tutor who also offers guidance and support in the writing of the dissertation. To achieve the award you will need 180 credits in total.

The current international focus upon standards, literacy and the inclusion of vulnerable learners within mainstream educational institutions means that there is increasing pressure upon professionals to develop the skills to identify and support a range of specific learning needs in literacy and study skills across the curriculum.

Teaching methods

Modules are taught through twilight workshops and lectures. Some individual tutorial support is offered alongside good opportunities for extended discussion with tutors and colleagues. In addition, full use is also made of Bath Spa University’s virtual learning environment (Minerva) for exchange of materials and communication. Collaborative analysis of ideas through discussion and problem solving is key to teaching and learning in the programme.

Application method

Application forms are available online using the Bath Spa student portal. Please contact CPD Admin for a project/module code and for all other enquiries.

Telephone: (01225) 875593.


International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For all enquiries about the course, please contact either:

Dr Sarah Couzens, course leader:


Entry requirements

Applicants (with the exception of speech and language therapists and psychologists) should have a first degree in Education or linked pedagogy and, ideally, two years of teaching experience.

Equivalence of overseas students’ academic qualifications is assessed by NARIC. For overseas applicants who are non native speakers of English, a minimum language level of IELTS 6.5, or equivalent, is required.

If you already have a recognised SpLD / Dyslexia qualification at ATS level, you can apply to use this prior qualification to gain entry to the Assessment Methodology module as Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL) towards the Masters or PG Dip in SpLD / Dyslexia as well as using this to top up your BDA qualification to AMBDA level.

Career opportunities

Many of our students seek new career paths in the field of additional support needs, ranging from working as SENCos or within specialist teams in educational contexts or Local Authorities to educational management, training or in related fields, maybe in their non-UK home. Some set up as independent SpLd assessors and tutors. Others start with the intention of taking their studies further – to PhD level – and seek eventual employment in an academic institution.

What students say...

'Students find this programme extremely valuable because it is linked to their practical work environment and experience and apart from an academic qualification they also optain accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association' 

Dr Steven Coombs.

'The seminars have been fantastic. The information has been really well presented in an understandable way. The sessions have been relaxed which has allowed discussion without people worrying about what they should and shouldn't say. Sarah is approachable and has a really practical approach whilst teaching theory. The practical workshops with visiting practitioners were really interesting and useful' 

Student from TT7364, 2013/14.