SEND Teacher Training: Enhancing Inclusive Education Strategies

Written by Dan

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) teacher training is designed to equip educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to teach and support children with varying abilities and additional needs.

These specialized teachers are essential in promoting inclusion and ensuring that all students have access to quality education, regardless of their individual challenges.

To provide the most effective support to students, SEND teachers must be well-versed in the various aspects of special needs education and continually broaden their knowledge and skills.

Understanding the diverse range of SEND and the English educational system is vital for aspiring SEND teachers. This includes familiarising policies, guidelines, and best practices for delivering tailored, learner-centric education to students with disabilities.

Additionally, prospective SEND teachers must complete specific requirements and training to become qualified, ensuring they have the necessary foundation to create inclusive learning environments.

Key Takeaways

  • SEND teacher training prepares educators to support students with diverse needs.
  • Proficiency in special needs education policies and practices is imperative for promoting inclusive learning environments.
  • Continuous development of skills and knowledge is essential for SEND teachers to provide effective support to their students.

Understanding SEND

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is a term used to describe the diverse requirements of children who may need additional support to access education due to learning, physical, sensory, emotional, or communication difficulties.

Educators and support staff need to have a solid understanding of SEND to provide the best possible education for every child.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) refers to a wide range of challenges that some students may face during their education. These needs may stem from various factors, such as cognitive, physical, or sensory issues.

Professionals in the education sector must be aware of these needs to adapt their teaching methods and ensure that all students have equal learning opportunities.

There are four main types of SEN: cognition and learning, communication and interaction, social, emotional and mental health, and sensory and physical needs.

Each category has specific challenges, and educators must tailor their teaching strategies to meet the individual needs of each student.

One essential aspect of understanding SEND is the concept of inclusion. The aim is for all students, regardless of their specific needs, to be included within mainstream education wherever possible.

This approach promotes equality and ensures that students with SEND are not separated unnecessarily from their peers.

Effective SEND teaching strategies include:

  • Differentiating lesson content according to students’ abilities and needs
  • Providing visual aids and support materials to facilitate understanding
  • Using clear and straightforward language to convey complex concepts
  • Encouraging peer support and collaboration within the classroom
  • Offering targeted interventions and support for students who require additional assistance

Teachers can also benefit from meaningful SEND training to expand their knowledge and skills. This training enables educators to identify the specific needs of their students and provide the necessary support to help them achieve their full potential.

Understanding SEND is paramount for any educator, as it enables them to create an inclusive and supportive environment where all students can thrive.

By adopting tailored teaching methods and continuous professional development, teachers can effectively address the diverse needs of their students and promote a positive learning experience for everyone.

Becoming a SEND Teacher

Academic Requirements

To become a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher, you will typically need a degree in a relevant subject.

Apart from the degree, you should also possess Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in a state school in England. Some choose to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) focusing on special needs education.

The Training Process

Various routes are available for those who aspire to become a SEND teacher. One common pathway involves completing a mainstream Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme, which covers the national curriculum and equips teachers to work in both mainstream and special schools.

After completing the ITT, teachers may opt for a Postgraduate Teacher Training programme or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with a focus on Special Educational Needs.

During their training, teacher trainees gain experience working with pupils with various needs, such as:

  • Autism
  • Hearing impairment
  • Visual impairment
  • Learning disabilities

This hands-on experience proves invaluable to aspiring SEND teachers.

You can find more information about the training process and what to expect from a Get Into Teaching event which provides advice on funding and different training routes.

SENCO and Other Roles

In addition to becoming a SEND teacher, you may consider pursuing a career as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). A SENCO oversees supporting students with special educational needs in mainstream schools.

To become a SENCO, you must possess QTS and relevant experience working with students with special needs.

Besides the SENCO role, other teaching roles in special schools include:

  • Specialist subject teachers
  • Learning support assistants
  • Educational psychologists

Each role requires specific qualifications and experiences, but all contribute to the holistic education and wellbeing of students with special educational needs.

Promoting Inclusion in Schools

Creating an Inclusive Environment

One of the critical aspects of promoting inclusion in schools involves creating an inclusive environment. This includes fostering an atmosphere where all children, with or without disabilities or special educational needs (SEN), can learn and develop together.

An inclusive approach benefits all students, encouraging them to appreciate diversity and develop empathy for others.

Teachers and support staff need to work together to address the individual needs of each student. This may involve adapting lesson plans and teaching strategies to cater to varying abilities and learning styles.

It is also important to consider physical accessibility, ensuring that all facilities and resources are available for students with disabilities.

Clear communication between staff, students, and parents can help create a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. Creating peer mentoring and tutoring opportunities encourages students to support each other, fostering an inclusive learning environment.

Support and Resources

Several organisations and resources are available to support educators in promoting inclusion in both primary and secondary schools.

The National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) provides information and advice to professionals in the field, and the Ambitious About Inclusion programme offers free SEND training modules for schools and settings.

These resources aim to develop a whole school approach to inclusion and cater to all workforce roles.

In addition to external resources, creating a strong internal support structure is crucial.

This can be achieved through the continuous professional development of staff – equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to address the varied needs of students in their care.

Collaborating with specialists such as therapists, psychologists, and autism experts can help staff identify appropriate interventions and strategies for students with SEN.

Furthermore, allocating specific support staff to work alongside teachers in the classroom can provide additional assistance and help ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed.

Investing time and effort in promoting inclusion within schools creates a positive and productive learning environment, where all students can reach their full potential.

By fostering an inclusive culture and providing appropriate resources and support, educators can help ensure that every child receives the tailored education they deserve.

Understanding SEND in the English Educational System

The English educational system recognises the importance of addressing the needs of all students, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

To ensure inclusive education, teachers must thoroughly understand SEND and how to support such students during their learning journey effectively.

To obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), teachers must undergo training, which now includes core modules on special educational needs, such as autism and teaching children with SEND.

This development was crucial, as the SEND Code of Practice states that every teacher is responsible for children with SEND and must be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this task.

A crucial role in the support system of SEND students is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), who works with school leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, and other staff to ensure appropriate support is provided to these pupils.

SENCOs communicate with parents and maintain necessary documentation such as Individual Education Plans (IEPs), setting out objectives and support strategies for each SEND student.

The responsibilities of a SENCO can be supported by teaching assistants (TAs), who often work closely with SEND pupils to provide additional support in the classroom.

The cooperation between SENCOs, TAs, and teachers is essential in creating an inclusive environment fostering the pupil’s socialisation, concentration, and understanding.

School governance also plays a crucial role in shaping policies and practices relating to SEND. In consultation with governors, the headteacher establishes the school’s priorities and overall direction in line with national guidelines and the school’s unique circumstances.

They ensure that resources are allocated effectively and that appropriate adjustments are made to the curriculum and teaching methods.

To enhance their understanding and skills, aspiring teachers are encouraged to gain school experience prior to applying for their teacher training programme.

Engaging with SEND students during these placements helps candidates better understand the challenges and strategies involved in supporting such pupils.

In England, the educational system follows a structure of progressive Key Stages, providing a curriculum framework.

As teachers develop their understanding and pedagogical skills, they should be able to adapt their teaching to cater to the diverse range of abilities within the classroom. This enables students with special educational needs to access the curriculum and engage fully in their education.

Language, literacy, and behaviour are areas that can present unique challenges for SEND students.

A comprehensive understanding of these factors is essential for teachers, who are then better equipped to modify their pedagogy, implement appropriate interventions, and ultimately ensure the success of students with special educational needs in the English educational system.

Broadening Knowledge and Skills

In the field of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) teacher training, broadening one’s knowledge and skills is essential to support students with learning difficulties successfully.

This section focuses on aspects that contribute to professional development in the SEND teaching domain.

Professional Development

Continuous professional development (CPD) significantly expands a teacher’s skillset and stays updated on the latest teaching methods. Some crucial areas for professional development in SEND teaching are:

  • Assistive Technology: Familiarising oneself with assistive technology tools is essential for SEND teachers. These devices can significantly enhance learning experiences for students with disabilities, such as dyslexia, and help them remain included in mainstream classrooms.
  • SEND Courses: Pursuing additional SEND courses helps teachers better understand different learning difficulties and how they can be addressed. Numerous institutions offer specialised modules on matters like inclusion, dyslexia, and other learning disorders, which cater to the diverse needs of SEND teachers in their career journey.
  • Access to Materials: Teachers must have the appropriate resources and materials at their disposal to tailor their teaching strategies to suit the individual needs of their students best. SEND teaching materials range from subject-specific resources in science, English, and maths, to more general guidance on teaching strategies for students with additional needs.
  • Assessments: Developing the ability to design and implement proper assessments is crucial for accurately evaluating students’ progress and ensuring they are on track to meet their learning objectives. Accurate assessments will lead teachers to make informed decisions regarding appropriate support, interventions, and teaching methods for their students.

Teachers can participate in workshops, training programmes, and conferences to enhance their professional growth. Engaging with fellow professionals enables valuable discussions and shared experiences, which can ultimately contribute to overall improvement in SEND teaching.

Believing in the power of continuous learning and committing to hone one’s craft will undoubtedly benefit educators in the rapidly evolving landscape of SEND education.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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