PG Cert Specialist Assessment for a specific learning difficulty: Dyslexia

Year of entry


The Postgraduate Certificate in Specialist Assessment for a Specific Learning Difficulty: Dyslexia provides teachers and professionals in practice an opportunity to gain a professional qualification in supporting learners with dyslexia. The programme has been accredited by the British Dyslexia Association as meeting the requirements for AMBDA (Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association).


This Postgraduate Certificate is ideal if you are  interested in:  

  • Becoming a specialist teacher for Dyslexia
  • Assessing for Dyslexia
  • Completing assessments for the JCQ (Joint council for Qualifications) Access Arrangements
  • Working towards the professional status of AMBDA (Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association)
  • Working towards achieving an APC (Assessment Practicing Certificate) to enable you to assess for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

The PG Cert Specialist Assessor for SpLD (Dyslexia) is a professional qualification, and on successful completion, will enable you to apply for the following status:

The programme meets the requirements for ATS / AMBDA as set out by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). The JCQ Access Arrangements criteria for a Specialist Assessor map onto those for AMBDA. Therefore, holders of AMBDA have the right to assess for and diagnose Dyslexia/SpLDs as well as make recommendations for Exam Access Arrangements. Additionally, you can apply to the BDA in order to be awarded a Dyslexia/SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) without additional training, if applying within three years of successfully completing this programme. This will enable you to make recommendations for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

You will develop a deep and critical understanding of theories and research underpinning contemporary understanding dyslexia and its assessment, including examining cause, effect and impact on wider developmental domains. You will develop specialist teaching abilities to include critical, evidence-based evaluation of pedagogical approaches and programmes of study. The programme will encourage the development of leadership skills in educational settings in order to foster an environment where colleagues work with and respect the contributions of those with specialist training.

The BDA awards require their holders to submit a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio every three years detailing the Professional Development Activities and direct teaching they have undertaken to remain conversant with knowledge, skills and professional competence required of them in their specialist teaching and assessment role. 

This programme will suit educational professionals who are interested in developing their practice in the area of Specific Learning Difficulties and dyslexia.

On completion of the three modules you may progress to the full MA in SEN Leadership.

You will have advance standing and direct entry to the MA in SEN Leadership if you have successfully completed the PGCert in SEN Coordination and / or Specialist Assessor for SpLD (Dyslexia) with Canterbury Christ Church University. In all other aspects this programme aligns with standard University policy with regard to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Personal Academic Tutors will discuss options for continuation and progression to ensure that the University’s regulations for credit transfer are followed.

You will study the following modules:

Issues and Debates: Understanding SpLD (Dyslexia) 20 credits  (4000 words or equivalent)

This module will introduce some of the issues and debates in relation to understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia). You will develop your knowledge of contemporary theoretical concepts, reviewing recent, relevant literature. You will critically appraise models and frameworks for teaching and assessing children and young people and examine and evaluate pedagogical approaches.

Evidence-based practice and Action Research: Pedagogical Approaches for SpLD (Dyslexia) 20 credits (4000 words or equivalent)

You will plan, implement and evaluate appropriate pedagogical approaches in your setting by completing a piece of action research. You will critically examine current theory and research in relation to literacy skills development and identify issues arising out of your practice in working with learners with Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia. You will design, deliver and critically evaluate learners’ progress in appropriate teaching programmes, developing your understanding of effective study methods. (Required documents to be submitted in the Professional Portfolio of Practice)

Analytical Case Study: Assessing SpLD (Dyslexia) 20 credits (4000 words or equivalent)

In this module, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of the principles of psychological and educational assessment. You will learn how to select appropriate assessment tools and materials to assess Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia and be able to justify your approaches. You will demonstrate you can effectively communicate the outcomes of assessments with learners, professionals and parents, including writing reports. (Required documents to be submitted in the Professional Portfolio of Practice)

Professional Portfolio of Practice

You will need to complete 42 hours of specified activities (30 hours of teaching and 12 hours of assessment) in an educational setting to achieve the Specialist Assessor for SpLD (Dyslexia). This will be assessed remotely via submission of video and associated documentation as follows:

  • Three hours of teaching will be submitted securely via video. You will also submit associated materials such as lesson plans, evaluations, schemes of work, teaching diaries etc. in the portfolio. 
  • One hour of the assessments you complete for an individual learner submitted securely via video. You will also submit associated materials such as reports.

Informed consent must be obtained prior to any videoing which will be addressed early in the course.

The programme is subject to the criteria set out by the BDA (Appendix A). Individuals can apply for the professional status of ATS/APS/AMBDA/AMBDA HE/FE within 3 years of successful completion.

This programme meets the criteria for individuals to apply for the professional status of ATS/APS/AMBDA/AMBDA HE/FE within 3 years of successful completion and fulfils these requirements.

Successful completion of this programme will enable you to apply for professional status with the British Dyslexia Association.

If you already hold the National Award for SEN coordination and successfully complete this PG Cert in Specialist Assessment of Specific Learning Difficulties: Dyslexia, you can gain direct entry to the MA in SEN Leadership and go on the complete the final dissertation stage for a full MA. 

The programme will run over the period of a year, and will comprise of 9 full day taught sessions and 2 half day taught sessions.

Teaching delivery will include tutor input, pre-module activities, discussions and seminars, group activities, critical friendship conversations and pre- and post-session online learning using readings, materials and tools recommended and provided. Individual tutorial support will be provided both face to face and by email and other means where appropriate.

Tutors on the programme hold the professional status of AMBDA and when the programme was accredited by the BDA, they were complemented upon the expertise of the team delivering the programme.

Please note that cohorts will run subject to viable numbers of applicants. Every effort is made to communicate with you at the earliest opportunity should this arise and you may be offered a later start date or an alternative location.  

Your learning is assessed by written papers, portfolios and presentations, depending on the modules studied, and the final dissertation. These are submitted and marked online. Each 20 credit module assignment is 4,000 words or equivalent.

You will complete 30 hours of evaluated, specialist teaching in practice in your setting, which must consist of a minimum of 10 hours with the same learner.

Three hours of teaching will be observed and assessed (via video) by a programme tutor who holds active AMBDA status to support you by providing a written report to provide formative feedback and summative assessment in relation to how far you meet the criteria. This will take place at appropriate points during the 30 hours of teaching. You will also submit associated materials such as lesson plans, evaluations, schemes of work, teaching diaries etc. in the form of a portfolio. 

 You will complete three diagnostic assessment reports stemming from 3 different assessments of learners. These reports must be assessed using the current SASC criteria for Assessment Practicing Certificates applications (  These must include supporting assessment plans, working papers and related tutors' reports submitted in the form of a portfolio.

A film of one hour of the assessments of an individual learner, showing the use of at least two standardised tests, appropriate for the age of the learner carried out in a 1:1 situation, should be submitted on an encrypted DVD/USB or other secure means, for assessment.  It may be filmed on more than one occasion but must focus on the assessment of one learner.  



Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 1 year part-time


  • Sept 2019

Entry requirements

  • Entry to the programme normally requires an honours degree (2.2 or above), or evidence of other relevant study at Level 6.



Last edited 26/11/2018 08:07:00

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Last edited: 26/11/2018 08:07:00