PGDip/Masters Qualification in Designated Teacher Leadership

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The Inclusion Expert Post Graduate Leadership qualifications fully encompass the role of the Designated Teacher.  The courses effectively build skills and knowledge around three important aspects of the role:

  • Leadership: Progressivepedagogy and leadership of learning together with determined advocacy for vulnerable children, including those who are care experienced. Management of multiple stakeholders, including parents and carers.
  • Inclusion: Guiding staff to learn and share knowledge and skills in how to best include vulnerable children in the classroom. Promotion and maintenance of whole school approaches to the education and care of vulnerable children..
  • Well-being: Raising awareness of the importance of wellbeing, for children, young people and staff. Supporting staff to prioritise their own wellbeing and emotional needs when they are working with complex, care experienced or challenging children and young people.

Finessing The Whole School Approach

Drawing on expert psychological support, IE are facilitating the further development of a whole school approach involving the sharing of responsibility, across the staff, for supporting the social, emotional and learning needs of vulnerable children, including those who are care experienced.

This is the cornerstone of the programme. Led by the Designated Teacher, staff will benefit from the building of resilience and will help staff increase personal repertoires of skills, through collaboration, peer support and teamwork. This will, in turn, impact on the ethos and wellbeing of the school community. Children and young people will be clear beneficiaries. In addition, participation will deliver the following significant benefits to school based staff:

  • Improved interpersonal competence and empathy leading to enhanced collaboration and collective responsibility to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people;
  • Improved interpersonal competence and empathy leading to enhanced collaboration and collective responsibility to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people;
  • Better understanding of SEMH and associated skills knowledge and experience, across the staff, governing body/trustees and wider school community;
  • Shared purpose and common language across the school, extending to stakeholders, including parents, carers and visiting professionals.

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 care experienced children and young people 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:

For the Leadership

Safeguarding Review and Training
  • Expert Designated Teacher with advanced skills, knowledge and understanding of leadership, Inclusion and wellbeing
  • Improved SEMH provision and ‘in house’ expert led CPD
  • Increased capacity to meet the needs of complex children and young people
  • Continuous improvement as experience grows and evidence of ‘what works’ is shared
  • Calls for SLT intervention following incidents reduced
  • Calls for the exclusion of vulnerable children reduced
  • Levels of internal staff stress and absenteeism reduced

For Staff Team

  • Mutual support and understanding from peers and leaders
  • Feeling valued
  • Access to high quality CPD
  • Never feeling alone with a professional problem or issue
  • Membership of a high performing team

For the Designated Teacher

  • Mutual support and understanding from peers and leaders
  • Feeling valued
  • Access to high quality CPD
  • Never feeling alone with a professional problem or issue
  • Membership of a high performing team

As the course progresses you can expect:

  • Leaders to call on your expertise and support your initiatives and ambitions
  • Staff to bring solutions rather than problems
  • Behaviour to be seen as communication
  • A collective will to understand and mitigate the effects on children of poor early attachment, trauma and toxic stress
  • Care experienced and other vulnerable children and young people are not condemned for their behaviour and attitudes


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.

What do the courses involve?

The PGDip is structured around four modules, designed with the principles of inclusion at the core. As concern for vulnerable children and young people mounts, it is likely that Designated Teachers and Virtual Schools will be expected to take on responsibility for children in need (CiN) and those with Child Protection Plans. As a profession we have much to learn from ‘what works’ evidence and it is well understood that early intervention pays dividends in helping children to overcome past trauma, barriers to learning and vulnerability. The course is highly suitable for designated teachers who wish to hone their leadership skills in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people in their school or setting.

  • Module 1: Leading People and Organisational Change
  • Module 2: Leading on Upskilling Staff in SEMH Pedagogy
  • Module 3: Leading on Transformative Change for Vulnerable Students
  • Module 4: Innovate and Lead in Other Settings

Teaching will be through weekly lectures and group coaching where participants will be able to share challenging situations/problems and receive supportive and helpful feedback and advice from peer designated teachers, chaired by an experienced Virtual School Head or other educational leader. In addition, telephone support will be available for individuals requiring help and advice with aspects of academic study.

Prerequisites of the one year PG Dip in Pastoral Leadership (120 credits)

You will need:

  • The support of your headteacher
  • Evidence of your Bachelor’s Degree
  • To be a UK passport holder
  • Funding to cover the course fees from your school, the Virtual School or your own resources
  • Willingness to complete academic study and reflect on your professional practice, over the course of a year
  • Time to complete the course requirements:
    • 3 (term time only) online 1 hour lectures per month
    • Reading: 2 essential core books plus additional reading to support academic writing and to deepen understanding of the module topic
    • Online group coaching: 1 hour once a month (instead of a lecture)
    • 3 short written reflections (300- 400 words) per module (12 in total)
    • A portfolio showcasing your current practice
    • Four 2,500 words essays based on the module content (30 credits each)
    • Optional networking and drop-in sessions

The PG Dip fee for April 2021 is £2,400 + VAT (the course is worth £8,000 but significantly subsidised).

The Master’s Degree in Inclusive Leadership

If you successfully complete the PGDip you can opt to study for a further year and be awarded the associated master’s degree.

You will be required to submit a 12-15,000-word dissertation. Academic support is offered but there are no lectures or additional coursework.  (60 credits)

The Master’s Degree fee is £3,590 + VAT (exclusive of the PG Dip fee).

Sign up now to the 2 Year Master’s Degree and you will receive £500 scholarship. You will pay £5,490 + VAT for both years.

Next steps

Click here to fill in the online form to register interest.

Ask any further questions via the form.


Speak to your headteacher.

Consider the impact on your professional and personal life.

Apply Now !



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 author:

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).

Find out more about our Designated Teacher Leadership Qualification

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