24th April 2023
Do I need a qualification to work in a SEND school as a teaching assistant?
What is SEND?
SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. SEND can affect a student’s ability to work at school. How SEND can affect students:
- Reading and writing abilities
- Understanding certain topics
- Concentration levels
- Socialising with others
SEND students may require extra support to aid their learning. It’s worth noting that children and young people who have special educational needs (SEN) do not necessarily have a disability.
To become a SEN/ SEND teaching assistant, you may need the following qualifications:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:
- Some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
To work in SEN you do not necessarily need any specific qualifications as quite often it is about someone’s personality and how they are able to interact with young children who are disengaged with education or have a barrier to learning. There are qualifications that would be beneficial and would make someone more attractive to a school such as training in Team Teach, MAPA, Behaviour Management and Autism Awareness.
Team Teach is a provider of positive behaviour management training. They equip individuals and teams in a variety of settings to deal with challenging situations and behaviours in ways that lead to desirable outcomes and positive relationships at work or in daily life.
MAPA stands for Management of Actual or Potential Aggression, it is a highly rated training programme that teaches management and intervention techniques to cope with escalating behaviour in a professional and safe manner. This training prepares teachers for situations that could happen within the classroom.
Behaviour management training can be taken by trainees or inexperienced teachers so they can be prepared for classroom environments and maintain order. There are strategies and ways taught to prevent misbehaviour and keep students on track at school.
Autism awareness courses give resources to teachers and other jobs to learn more about autism. The resources offer more information about the challenges that autistic people can experience. The programme aims to provide more insight and guidance on what teachers, health care and workers can do to make their services more accessible to people with autism.
Working in SEN roles
Working in a SEN role can be one of the most challenging in the teaching profession, however, it can be one of the most rewarding as well when you see your students succeed. Working in SEN includes lots of one-to-one work and unique opportunities that may not be experienced in other teaching roles. Working in a SEN role requires lots of patience and commitment, and using different techniques is a must to meet the pupil’s needs.
To work as a SEND teacher, it is important that you are enthusiastic and passionate about what you do. The difference that you make in these children’s lives will be the rewarding part as you notice the impact and help you have provided them as they excel.
When working in a SEN role, you will typically be working in a smaller group or class size in a one-to-one environment, because of this, you will build a strong relationship with the pupils you work with. You will be able to notice what helps them, and what doesn’t work as well, as every SEN student has different needs and requirements. Working with SEN students will require you to be creative, there is lots of freedom within these roles and every lesson will be different. Some SEN students may need playful, physical tasks to work on and every lesson may have to be different. But other SEN students may require routine and similarity throughout their learning. This is where creativity comes into play as you will have to work and teach around their needs! Make sure to have fun with it and make enjoyable tasks for SEN learning students.
So the answer is Yes, in a way you can become a SEN teaching assistant without any specific qualifications. But like most jobs, you will need basic GCSE grades and some experience would help! If you want to find out more or view our SEND jobs, there is a link below.