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Learning support in international schools

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Dramakween, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Dramakween

    Dramakween Occasional commenter

    Could anyone advise on which qualifications are expected for being a Learning Support teacher in international schools? I have a lot of experience and have done numerous local authority CPD courses, but I don’t have any formal ASN qualifications. Advice gratefully received.
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The majority of internationals schools don't do SEND or Learning Support because their is little profit in it! Students with medical SEND requirements are filtered out at admissions to international schools so you are only left with minor conditions described as EAL support. So students who have medical SEND conditions who would be in a mainstream classroom in the UK simply do not appear in international school classroom. (Someone will say that their school does accept SEND students I am sure)

    Some international schools desperate for income/profits will take any students but are then not prepared to spend additional resources on students with SEND needs. So be careful of the schools you wish to work for as you will have no support to outside medical/care agencies as in the UK. Here in Shanghai there is only one private outside support organisation schools can use and the initial assessment of a students needs costs around 3000GBP and continuing support can cost 20000GBP/year.

    Many parents who are paying 35000GBP plus per year complain if their children's education is interrupted by a student with ADHT in the classroom.
  3. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    This is more or less the way things have been for awhile. However, in my current situation things are changing. This is especially true for schools which are expanding because they just can’t ignore it anymore. My school charges extra for any support; EAL and SEND. And the support situation is improving a lot around the international schools in Bangkok, where I am. Often, the school will bring in outside help and there is a huge student support department developing at St. Andrews (Nord Anglia) that is housed inside the school. These specialists are not solely for that school but do offer help to other schools. I do know a couple of specialists that work more or less freelance around the city. The need is very great as many local students with needs can’t function in a local schools so parents try their best to find a place that will offer support.
  4. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    And, sorry, I don’t know of any specific qualifications. I’d look to the schools’ job descriptions as a guide. I know a couple schools that’ll take anyone with a teaching qualification and an interest in learning support.
  5. Dramakween

    Dramakween Occasional commenter

    Interesting, and many thanks for your replies. I’ve had quite a few job alerts for Learning Support arrive recently. One asks for a degree in SEN (I don’t have that) and the other NASENCO. Not really interested in leading the subject, but maybe worth doing. I have lots of EAL experience, so maybe it’s just worth going ahead and applying whilst also researching courses.
  6. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    We have a SEN department that is separate from EAL. We take students with a wide range of requirements including sight and hearing impairment. In my first year I worked with a specialist teacher who worked just with one student who had DNS. Our SEN teachers are specialist trained. Our learning support assistants are trained on the job.

    We're back at school in a couple of weeks. I can always ask our SENCO about qualifications if you like.
    yasf likes this.
  7. 576

    576 Established commenter

    My current school is inclusive so we take all the Sen kids the other international school won't.
    My previous school also had Sen and parents did pay more for support.
    In terms of leadership, you would probably find there weren't many Sen teachers in a school.
    ejclibrarian likes this.
  8. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    if you are splashing about at the bottom end of the international school pond like @february31st then it seems this job doesnt exist. if like the rest of us are at the other end of the pool, working in non profit schools then there is no issue. we have 11 in our learning support department across the whole school. this would technically include the 3 school councillors as well. we have a range of qualifications in this department, ranging from a clinical child psychologist to a old humanities teacher that realised its very hard to get a humanities job....and everything else inbetween.

    in all my schools we have had learning support, but dont think for one moment it is anything like a SEND department back in a state school in the UK.

    i would apply with what you have and see how it goes...what do you have to lose?
  9. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    *sighs with relief.

    To the OP - be wary of any school that puts ESL / EAL in with SEND in a "support" department. It's a big no no, and shows that those taking decisions don't hold either department in particularly high regard.
  10. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    Our departments are separate as well although we do consult with each other over students in order to confirm the type of support needed. Some schools charge expand some schools don’t. Some nonprofit schools charge extra and some for profit schools don’t. There are different ideas for the reasons why or why not.
  11. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Using my pathetic financial package as a base, 11 fulltime LS teachers will cost 1.25 million USD.

    For every not for profit school on the the international circuit there are 999 for profit schools.
  12. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    yes, but there are still plenty of non profits out there. you just need to look.

    stop paddling around the shallow end ;)
  13. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Interesting, sounds like my last place.

    Dear OP be aware that many overseas schools employ local fully qualified teachers to support SEN children.
  14. Booker_d

    Booker_d New commenter

    I would advise the OP to use the time to obtain their SENCO award. You'll be in competition for jobs with people who have theirs so it's an idea to get it to level the playing field for you at application time, even if you don't intend to go for leadership roles.

    You're EAL experience will stand you in good stead. Good luck.
    Dramakween and 576 like this.
  15. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    My experience/information is a different than some. Many/most int'l schools do have some type of learning support department even if it is only one or two people for the school/division (feel free to check school websites if you doubt it). Many for profit schools do charge extra for the additional support.

    Many of these schools would prefer their learning support/SEN/SPED staff to have a qualification in their home country (aside from local staff who are generally employed as assistants). In the US this would be certification in SPED from a state (I don't have much familiarity with UK credentials). Some schools I'm sure would consider candidates with relevant training/experience but not an actual SEN credential.
  16. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    We're a profit school and we have a great SEN department BUT there is a limit on what sort of student we would take. We have many Aspergers and some autistic students but no students who would need 100% full time care as we just wouldn't be able to offer such a student what they require at the moment. All of our SEN staff are specially trained.
  17. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The money in the paddling pool can be just as good as the deep end for half the work and 2 less meetings a week.
  18. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I only have 1 a week...try another one;)
  19. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    Not for profit schools are not all they are cracked up to be anymore. This is from personal experience. Depends on the board and the selectively at admissions. Many parents hide the needs of their children in order to get admitted.
  20. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Agree that the majority of the learning support departments are not going to be designed/resourced for students with more involved/comprehensive needs.

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