Special Educational Needs

Working within Special Educational Needs is the provision of extra learning support to children and young adults so that they can reach their full educational potential. This can be within mainstream schools or specialist SEN schools, who cater for students with more complex and severe needs.

This will include working with those who have physical disabilities, sensory impairments (i.e. hearing or visual), associated with speech and language difficulties, learning difficulties, dyslexia, autism, social, emotional and mental health needs, or have a combination of these difficulties.

You may also work with gifted and talented individuals.

A key aspect of working in this field is identifying individual needs and being responsible for creating a safe, stimulating and supportive learning environment.

You may also work with gifted and talented individuals.

A key aspect of working in this field is identifying individual needs and being responsible for creating a safe, stimulating and supportive learning environment.

There are various roles within SEN, the duties will vary according to the role you take.

Depending on the role and where you work you (mainstream or specialist SEN schools) you will be required to undertake specialist training such as Team Teach and Mapper, Hoist and PEG training.

SEN Teacher

Teaching the National Curriculum either to a mixed ability class in a mainstream school or in a dedicated SEN school.

Qualifications, skills and experience required

A Qualified Teachers Status is essential to work as an SEN Teacher in a mainstream school. While most specialist SEN schools also require QTS status, this is not always essential.

  • Specific qualifications are required to teach pupils with hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairments
  • Commitment to working with pupils with special educational needs
  • Literacy and numeracy skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Initiative and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to manage confrontation and challenging behaviour
  • Team working and organisational skills
  • An observant and responsive approach
  • Flexibility - it is important to be able to respond to the needs of the children and adapt or change plans accordingly
  • A positive, energetic and enthusiastic outlook
  • Patience, understanding and empathy with pupils and parents

Key Responsibilities

Duties will include:

  • Planning and preparing lessons as well as marking and assessing work
  • Developing and adapting methods of teaching to meet the needs of individual pupils
  • Assisting in severely disabled pupils' personal care/medical needs
  • Updating and maintaining records of pupils progress and relaying this back to the Head Teacher, departmental heads and parents
  • Managing challenging behaviour and working with medical staff, therapists and psychologists
  • Working with the Head Teacher and governing bodies to ensure that the requirements set in the Equality Act (2010) are met

Salary

The salary for a SEN Teacher is determined by the National Teachers Main Pay Scales. Your position on the pay scale depends on the area you work in, your qualifications and experience. You may only get paid for the weeks you work during term time. As a guide you can expect to earn:

Entry MPS1 Experienced MPS3 Highly Experienced MPS6
Salary £23,720 to £29,664 £27,652 to £32,837 £35,008 to £40,372
Daily £120-£155 £140-£170 £180-£210

After gaining experience and expertise you have the opportunity to progress into leadership and head of year roles where salaries starts at £36,646 and can rise to £116,738.

Note: Salary details are a guide only and obtained from www.neu.org.uk ‘Main Pay Scales (2018/2019)’

SEN Teaching Assistant

Working under the supervision of the teacher to help prepare learning material in relation to the National Curriculum.

Key Responsibilities

Duties will include:

  • Working in groups or on a one-to-one level with children inside or outside the classroom
  • Using special equipment and facilities, such as audio visual materials and computers to stimulate interest in learning
  • Using specialist skills, such as teaching Braille to pupils with visual impairments or sign language - and lip reading to students with hearing impairments
  • Assisting in severely disabled pupils' personal care/medical needs
  • Keeping records and attending review meetings

Salary

Salaries vary depending on your experience and the education authority you might work for. As a guide you can expect to earn:

Entry Experienced Highly Experienced
Salary £11,500 to £14,000 £15,000 to £17,000 £18,000 to £23,000
Daily £60-£75 £80-£90 £95-£120

Outreach Support Workers / Tutors

Outreach support workers and tutors are social services employees that carry out their work in the field. This means, rather than working primarily in an office or clinical setting, outreach workers instead often go to their clients to provide their services. This is because, those in need of support are not able to access the required services so easily. They may have mental health problems, disabilities, behavioral issues, run away from home, be homeless, don’t have the money to pay for such services or have been subjected to violence, abuse, drug addiction and be facing family difficulties.

The responsibility of outreach support workers and tutors is to create and monitor Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and plans of work with the support of the Case Coordinator. The day-to-day job duties will vary as it is dependent on the needs of the client. However, the overall aim would always be to help the client overcome the issues and stressors in their lives so that it improves their overall well-being and function at a greater level; leading to a happy and healthy life.

Some of the tasks would include providing educational courses and skill-building exercises, organizing community events, advocacy, serving as a mentor to support them with social and emotional development needs. There will be instances where support workers and tutors will need to work with external services such as local professionals, charities and authorities.

Hours of work and environment

SEN teachers working in mainstream schools will normally work 37 hours a week for 39 weeks a year which is split over 3 school terms. Hours vary from school to school but are usually from 8:30am to 4pm.
If you find yourself working in special schools or units such as hospital schools, independent schools, pupil referral units and youth custody centres the working hours here will generally be the same.

Residential units which require 24/7 assistance provide accommodation for overnight shifts.

Career path and progression

After gaining experience and expertise you have the opportunity to progress into an SEN co-ordinator, leadership or head of year roles. In specialist SEN schools you could progress to a deputy or head teacher.