PGDip/Masters Qualification in Designated Teacher Leadership

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CLA/LAC Advocacy | SEMH Pedagogy | Peer Support | Wellbeing


The Designated Teacher Leadership Qualification consists of:


The Inclusion Expert Designated Teacher Leadership Qualification aims to build the skills around, and capture the impact of, three of the most important parts of the Designated Teacher role:

  • Leadership: Progressive pedagogy and advocacy for children who are looked after, managing multiple stakeholders, corporate parenting and supporting the training of staff in SEMH and wellbeing.
  • Inclusion: Facilitating staff to learn and share knowledge and skills in how to best include vulnerable children in the classroom.
  • Well-being: Supporting students and staff to manage their wellbeing when supporting young people who are care experienced and struggling.

For the first time and with leading psychological support, we are shifting from one DT per setting with the aim to ensure that the responsibility for supporting these students’ emotional needs is shared across a whole school approach.

Whole School Approach

The unique strength of this course is underpinned by learning how to provide comprehensive peer support. This enables the whole school to benefit from increased resilience – not only the most vulnerable pupils but also SLT, DTs and other staff too.

Peer support is not a new phenomenon but it is underutilised in the teaching profession. This element delivers four significant benefits to the whole school:

  • Improve interpersonal competence and empathy;
  • Develop a sense of equality in giving and taking between self and others;
  • Gain self-awareness while helping; and
  • Build a profile for self and school, from the person they help, and others.

When working with vulnerable students whose needs can manifest as ‘challenging behaviour’, staff are often exposed to high levels of strain and stress and may unknowingly experience effects of secondary trauma which in turn can impact on their ability to effectively support students. Until now, this would have required a trained psychologist to supervise, which is why this programme is unique in upskilling you to implement effective peer support.

This DT Leadership qualification delivers:

    • How to prevent the group from being hijacked by one person
    • Learning how to process increased openness and vulnerability
    • Arc of integration: How to shift participants’ attitudes to the group so that they feel an increased sense of equality, thus allowing the mood in the group to evolve from scepticism, to understanding to appreciation to enthusiasm
    • The foundations of wellbeing and the role peer-support groups can play in cultivating wellbeing
    • Facilitating language and actions

How did this course come about?

The working assumption of the programme is that one of the most impactful elements of the Designated Teacher is not just in what they personally can do in a school for the CLA/LAC students but how they can get everyone else to take action. No school leader finds this easy!

The Inclusion Expert online SEMH pedagogy underpins school practices with a more sophisticated and nuanced appreciation of how to teach the most challenging students in the classroom by meeting their needs in a bespoke, time-efficient and stress-free way.

Daniel Sobel and the team at Inclusion Expert have worked with thousands of schools and developed strong links with Virtual Heads across the UK. This training is the result of a series of discussions with many Virtual Heads, who have kindly contributed their ideas and experiences to the development of this course.

Impact measures

We will be tracking hard and soft data, and this will be used to improve:

  • Teaching practice
  • Outcomes for individual pupils
  • Group participation
  • Staff wellbeing
  • Whole-school impact


Participants and supporters of this programme will benefit as follows:

Participating Staff

Safeguarding Review and Training

SEMH skills, knowledge and experience


Demonstration and understanding of impact


Peer support and group work



Designated Teacher

Advanced SEMH skills, knowledge andexperience


Facilitator training


DT statutory guidance


Demonstration and understanding of impact


Peer support and group work



Heads and SLT

‘Free’ CPD with improved SEMH provision delivering whole-school benefits


Commit to help your most vulnerable pupils whilst delivering advanced CPD to your staff.


Reduce stress and absenteeism associated with emotional toxicity and poor wellbeing.


Enable staff to share challenges, without meddling in people’s psychological lives.


Distribute responsibility, knowledge, leadership, skills in relation to SEMH to the whole school.


Demands less than one hour per week, flexing with the timetable of your setting.


Find out more about our Online SEMH pedagogy courses

These courses are for DTs and peer support groups to understand and practise the art of inclusive classrooms and to compliment the exceptional pastoral work schools already do.


There are two roles for the course:

The Designated Teacher, likely a Pastoral Leader, needs to be someone who already has developed a level of emotional intelligence, compassion and wisdom. DTs undertaking this programme will be interested in developing their leadership skills and experience.

With training and support from the team at Inclusion Expert, the DT’s role within the group will be to:

  • Cultivate peoples’ sense of belonging and being part of a caring team
  • Empower staff by enabling them to feel heard, respected and appreciated
  • Create a safe space for group members to share challenging situations/problems and receive supportive and helpful feedback and advice

With training and support from the team at Inclusion Expert, the DT’s role within the group will include:


Optional Modules on Group Supervision


UoB will provide details about all aspects of the accreditation element by Mid-January 2020.

Peer support staff on this course will usually be pastoral leaders or staff seriously engaged with pastoral management in a school. This could include TAs, the SENCO or anyone directly linked to the most challenging and vulnerable students. We recommend a group of 3-8 members of staff per peer-support group.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

This course is for DTs and any other Pastoral Leaders, Teachers, TAs or staff working with the most vulnerable and challenging students in the classroom.

Who will benefit from this course?

Our experience in delivering inclusion expertise always focuses on outcomes: tangible improvements for students, staff and senior leaders. We will teach you how to facilitate and participate in groups more effectively; record hard and soft; data and support the most vulnerable and challenging pupils in your setting – all whilst building your own and school’s resilience to increasing demands on delivery.

  • You will receive a PGDip/Masters qualification.
  • You will raise and record improvements for yourself and your school.
  • You will demonstrate whole school leadership.
  • You will enhance the provision of SEMH in your school and develop expertise in SEMH that others in the school and LAs can draw on.
How much time do I need to commit?

We have minimised the time commitment for you, but there will be some activities which will run concurrently with your demanding role.

  1. Register your interest by completing the form below. We will work with your Virtual Head and confirm your selection.
  2. Have a chat with your HT and SLT about practicalities, which include:
    • The programme start date flexes with you: you can enrol in January, March or September.
    • Attending three one-day workshops across the forthcoming calendar year. They will be local, so no expensive travel and overnight stays
    • How will peer support be chosen within the setting?
    • Setting up a weekly peer support group
    • Monthly online webinar
    • Four essays (PGDip) and a dissertation (Masters)
How much does it cost?

£1,900 + VAT – the course is worth £8,000 but significantly subsidised – Online Training with up to 7-10 webinars

£50 non-refundable Application Fee

Optional additional training: Staff Wellbeing Leadership and Group Facilitation Training via webinar and online modules. £550 + VAT

Contact us on 0333 301 0688 or for more information.

How do I sign up?

Please complete the application form below. We will be in touch soon after to process the application fee and again once your application has been reviewed. Please contact us on 0333 301 0688 or for more information.

When does it start?

Due to the different needs of our clients we offer rolling launch dates; January, March and September. Please reach out using the form below and one of our team will be in touch to discuss which date will be right for you..

Application Form


Has a Bachelor's Degree YesNo
Has been successful with vulnerable and challenging students YesNo
Has been a pastoral leader for at least one year YesNo
Is able to reflect on their own practice YesNo
Can work effectively with other staff YesNo
Senior Leader YesNo
Has completed additional pastoral training YesNo
Has led whole school initiative YesNo
Has a teaching qualification YesNo

About the authors:

Daniel Sobel MA Ed (Psychology) FCMI FCIC FRSA is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Inclusion Expert. An internationally respected leader in inclusive education, he has advised the Department for Education, the European Union and governments abroad. Daniel is a well-known speaker, and has written for publications including Headteacher Update, The Times Educational Supplement and The Guardian. He has authored two books for Bloomsbury press, Narrowing the Attainment Gap (2018) and Leading on Pastoral Care (2019).

Danny Newman MA (Oxon) is a certified Integral Development Coach and has been facilitating in-depth Group Work for over 10 years. He runs a charity that supports people in cultivating their wellbeing and inner-wisdom and leads mindfulness meditation retreats, workshops and courses. Prior to beginning his work in the fields of coaching, personal development and wellbeing, Danny read Oriental Studies at Oxford University and worked for many years as a corporate lawyer in the City of London.

Find out more about our Designated Teacher Leadership Qualification

Please fill in the form below to register your interest! Alternatively, contact us on 0333 301 0688.

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