University of Edinburgh

SSC Pathway to Competence CPD Course for Teachers of Children and Young People who are Deaf or Visually Impaired

Under review


Teachers employed wholly or mainly to support pupils who are sensory impaired are expected to gain an appropriate qualification within a finite number of years of taking up post, as prescribed in the Scottish Government guidelines relating to appropriate qualifications in The Requirements for Teachers (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SS1 2005/355).

This self-directed pathway was developed to enable teachers to demonstrate  that they were able to match the competences in the 2005 Regulations. This alternative to the postgraduate qualification is not a taught course; teachers will fulfil the learning outcomes through work-based learning, professional visits and by accessing relevant readings and other sources of reference. Participants will be assigned to a tutor who will be able to provide support to them throughout the course. However, prospective course participants or line managers are advised to contact the SSC to talk about this course to find out more about the course content and requirements before applying.


Participants who complete this course (either in full or in part) will receive a completion certificate from the Scottish Sensory Centre that clearly states the competences that have been satisfactorily completed.

Start dates

Applications accepted between April and September each year.

Course pre-requisites:

Teachers must have current registration with the General Teaching Council of Scotland as defined in Regulation 4 of The Requirements for Teachers (Scotland) Regulations 2005. Participants must have access to relevant pupils.

Some teachers may wish to carry out one or more areas of competence either for their own professional development or to assist them to gain an appropriate qualification.

It may be possible to use part of this course to apply for accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) towards a formal programme of study.

Teachers who are considering this route are advised contact the SSC to discuss this with relevant academic staff before completing the enclosed application form.

Teachers may wish to complete individual elements, in which case a minimum of five elements must be selected. These teachers must complete a Professional Development Portfolio with evidence of each element with a commentary to support this.

Assessment criteria:

A course tutor representing the SSC/University of Edinburgh will be assigned to each teacher. Teachers are eligible to a maximum of two hours tuition for each aspect of the course requirements (eg, Two hours in total for each area of competence or for a selection of 5 individual elements). The tutor will provide formative feedback from the second observed visit when the agreed date for the complete submission will be arranged.

The tutor will also assess the portfolio and written assignment and provide written feedback. A satisfactory or unsatisfactory result will be awarded. The SSC/University of Edinburgh moderation procedures will be followed. If an unsatisfactory result is awarded teachers will have the opportunity to resubmit within a three-month period.


The maximum time permitted to complete this entire course is 4 calendar years from the date of acceptance on to the course. Teachers who are completing either one area of competence or a selection of five elements will have a maximum six months to complete this.

Course fees

Course fees are non-refundable once a place has been accepted. Fees are currently under review.

The course fee includes:

  • the course handbook and evaluation framework;
  • introductory session to go over course at the SSC in September or available on the SSC website if applicant unable to attend;
  • supervision/liaison time with course tutor (email, phone, face-to-face, etc);
  • two placement visits;
  • assessment of submissions and feedback;
  • SSC Pathway to Competence CPD course completion certificate.

Application process

While our review is underway please contact the centre directly about application forms and fees.

Applications will be acknowledged by email in the first instance. The decision regarding acceptance on to the course rests with the SSC Co-ordinator. When a place on the course is confirmed an invoice will be raised and sent to the person/service nominated on the application form. Applicants will receive a confirmation letter with their own personal details to check and confirm and a student agreement form to sign and return to the SSC. Also, from the information submitted, Visitor Registration access to the University of Edinburgh's Library materials and/electronic resources will be set up. A current passport sized photograph must accompany the application form and date of birth is required for this access.

NB: missing information will delay the initial administration of the course and delay the course start date, receipt of course handbook and access to online materials. Please contact the SSC at any time in the application process if you do not hear anything when you think you should. Before submitting the application please check:

  • a clear passport sized photo attached
  • invoice details and purchase order number provided if required
  • application is authorised by line manager.

Teachers work in many settings so to ensure that appropriate arrangements, support and guidance are available it is expected that the teacher's line manager (or other appropriate person) will be available to liaise with the teacher and SSC staff.

Course requirement

Teachers who are required to demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified must complete all four of the following components.

Component 1: Produce a Professional Development Portfolio with evidence of the individual elements contained in the areas of competence listed with a commentary to support each element.

There are seven areas of competence:

  1. Assessment;
  2. Multi-agency working;
  3. Language and Communication;
  4. Medical/disability related knowledge;
  5. Specialised Technology;
  6. Specific Legislative policy;
  7. Teaching and Learning.

Each of these areas is divided into individual elements.

Component 2: Provide evidence of placements. To ensure that teachers have an adequate breadth of experience it is necessary for teachers to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills in contexts other than with children and young people they normally support. Time for this is negotiable with the teacher's line manager; a minimum of 2 days FTE is expected.

Component 3: Observed visits. The teacher will be observed at work on two occasions: one by a representative of the SSC/University of Edinburgh, the other by the student's line manager (or appropriate person); formative feedback will be provided.

Component 4: Complete a written assignment demonstrating the roles and responsibilities of a teacher of the deaf or visually impaired within the teacher's own context. (2000 words)