How can I become an SEND teacher?

Are you passionate about education and have a deep desire to support children with diverse learning needs? Becoming an SEND teacher in the UK could be the fulfilling career path you've been searching for. This guide explores the qualifications, routes, skills, and tips to help you navigate your journey towards nurturing young minds within the SEND sector.

How to become an SEND Teacher - A comprehensive guide

Qualifications and Routes

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS): This is the essential qualification for all teachers in England and Wales,including SEND teachers. There are several routes to gaining QTS:

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE): A one-year, full-time programme combining university-based learning with placements in schools. Some PGCEs offer specialisms in SEND.

School Direct: A training programme where you learn and gain experience on-the-job in a school while studying for your QTS. Some School Direct programmes have a specific focus on SEND.

Teacher Apprenticeship: A two-year, work-based training programme with classroom experience and university modules.

SEND Specialisation: Completing a postgraduate qualification in SEND after obtaining your QTS can deepen your knowledge and expertise. Popular options include:

  • Master's degree in Special Educational Needs (SEND)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Autism Studies
  • National Award in Inclusive Education

Attributes to help you become a SEND teacher

A successful SEND teacher possesses a unique blend of skills and attributes:

Empathy and understanding: The ability to connect with children on an individual level, recognizing their challenges and strengths.

Strong communication: Clear and effective communication with children, parents, colleagues, and other professionals.

Patience and resilience: Adapting to challenging situations and remaining calm while supporting children with complex needs.

Creativity and adaptability: Designing engaging and personalised learning experiences that cater to diverse learning styles and needs.

Problem-solving and analytical skills: Identifying individual needs and crafting effective strategies to address them.

Collaboration and teamwork: Working effectively with parents, fellow teachers, and other professionals to ensure holistic support for each child.

Useful Work Experience

While not mandatory, relevant work experience can strengthen your application:

Volunteering: Consider volunteering with organisations supporting children with SEND, such as charities or community groups.

Support work: Jobs like teaching assistant, learning mentor, or classroom support worker can offer valuable insights into the SEND classroom environment.

Tutoring children with SEND: This provides direct experience working with individual needs and developing personalized learning approaches.

Interview Tips

Research the school and SEND provision: Demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the specific school and the type of SEND they cater to.

Be enthusiastic and passionate: Convey your genuine interest in working with children with SEND and making a positive impact on their lives.

Prepare for common questions: Practice answering questions about your skills, experience, and approach to SEND teaching.

Ask thoughtful questions: Prepare questions that demonstrate your research, curiosity, and commitment to the role.

Dress professionally and present yourself confidently: First impressions matter, so ensure you present yourself positively.

Additional Resources

Remember: The journey to becoming an SEND teacher requires dedication, passion, and a willingness to learn. By equipping yourself with the necessary qualifications, honing your skills, and demonstrating your commitment, you can embark on a rewarding career that makes a significant difference in the lives of children with SEND.

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