A teacher of children with special educational needs, will need to have more specific skills than a general teacher. They will need to have the same qualifications as a teacher, but potentially extra training specific to certain special needs.
You will be working with children and young people who need extra support. This could be due to physical or mental disabilities and they may vary a lot in their severity. It could be that they have difficulties with sight, hearing or speech, movement or language or that they have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism or other mental health needs. There is a possibility of working with gifted or talented children as well. It is important that the support given is specific to the needs of that specific child and these needs will have to be identified before teaching can start.
Teaching will take place in or outside of the classroom usually with individuals or small groups. Lessons will have to be planned and work marked. Conventional teaching methods will need to be adapted to suit the needs of the learner. Special equipment may need to be used in order to facilitate their learning. The classroom teacher will need to be involved in helping to plan out the lessons and the head teacher will need to be consulted with repect to making sure that the requirements of the Equality Act are being met. It may be necessary to work with other professionals such as social workers, speech and language therapists or educational psychologists as well as parents and carers. It may be necessary to help with personal care or medical needs. Behaviour may need to be carefully managed in some cases. Training will need to be done, specific to the needs of some children.
Skills and Qualifications
You will need to have a Qualified Teacher Status which will mean a degree such as a Bed or a BA or BSc with QTS. A PGCE or SCITT will also be acceptable as well as a teach First qualification of a School Direct qualification. It is often the case that extra training in special educational needs will be taken, although there is an element of this in teacher training courses. If pupils have hearing, visual or multi-sensory difficulties then specific training will need to take place. A DBS check will need to take place to be able to work alone with a child. You will also need good communication and problem solving skills as well as organisational skills. You will need to be able to work with children who have challenging behaviour as well as those with a disability. You will need to be flexible, energetic, enthusiastic, positive, patient empathetic and have a sense of humour.
New starters should expect to get pay of around £22,000 which will rise yearly to £33,000. There is a London weighting that is added on for those working in London and the surrounding areas. There will be an additional salary, added on that quoted which is a standard teacher’s pay of £2,000 to £4,000 to allow for the Special Educational needs experience. Work tends to be 8.30pm to 3.30pm in term time which tends to be 39 weeks ayear with half a day a week allowance for planning lessons. Many teachers work extra hours to fit in writing reports, assessments, marking, planning, preparation for parents evening and meetings. They may also organise extra curricular activities.