SEND• 3 Min read

12th December 2019

How to become a special needs teacher

SEND teachers work with pupils who require extra support to reach their full educational potential due to a learning or physical disability. SEND teachers are relied upon to identify individual needs and to be responsible for creating a safe, stimulating, and supportive learning environment, for either small groups of pupils or entire classes.

SEND teachers will typically work with pupils who have the same or similar SEND requirements, which could be:

  • Sensory impairments
  • Physical disabilities
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Learning difficulties (such as dyslexia)
  • Autism
  • Social, emotional, and/or mental health needs

As a SEND teacher, you will typically work in a mainstream school with SEND pupils or in a specialised school, though you may also work in a Pupil Referral Unit or another location. Special schools will have more advanced resources to assist SEND pupils with their day-to-day needs and learning. To be able to use these specialised resources, you might be required to undertake extra training.

How do I become a SEND teacher?

All SEND teachers are required to have QTS and mainstream teaching experience. You can get QTS by taking a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree, or a BA or BSc with QTS. If you are already a graduate, you can take a PGCE with QTS course, such as the Engage Teacher Training Programme.

All teacher training courses have a SEND component to them so all qualified teachers are equipped to teach pupils with special needs or disabilities.

If you want to teach in a special school for pupils with a specific need, you may also have to learn specialist skills. These skills could include learning to teach Braille for pupils with visual impairments, or sign language for those with hearing impairments. Some schools also require the use of specialist equipment, such as hydrotherapy pools or special communication devices. You can undertake extra training either within a special school or with a specialised training provider to gain the skills needed to fulfill your role.

SEND Careers with Engage

You can check out the rest of the My SEND Career series for more information on the specific routes available to people wanting to work with children with special education needs or disabilities, or visit the SEND page for more information.

If you would like a new role teaching in a SEND setting on a permanent, long-term, or short-term basis, full or part-time, our expert SEND team will be able to find the perfect role for you at one of our fantastic partner schools. You can register with the SEND team here.


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