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Looking to move in SEN

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by cecdesigner, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. cecdesigner

    cecdesigner New commenter

    Good Morning All.

    I have been teaching 9 years DT Secondary. I've recently dropped to part time as (I'm going to say it out loud) I can't hack the demands any more. I did some supply in September in an SEN school and absolutely loved it. I saw a real difference in what I was doing and I felt I was clearly helping students to lead independent lives.

    I'm starting to apply for classroom teacher jobs in SEN, but most jobs are wanting experience in that environment. I have been looking around for courses to boost my knowledge and skills (CPD- macaton, Teamteach etc) but not relaly coming up with anything.

    Currently I don't have employment past the end of this academic year so I am available from September. Would people recommend being a TA to gain experience- it would be a tough ask as I'm UPS 1 and have outgoings which reflect this- but i could potentially make it work- if it could lead to something better (teaching).

    Is there any advice or guidance you could pass my way to help me make this transition? I would be very thankful for even the smallest bit of advice!!

    Many thanks for your time! Happy holidays!!!

  2. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Don't become a TA if you want to continue as a teacher, as you know teaching jobs also want to see continuity of practice.

    Don't discount your current teaching experience as being valid. Talk about how you have supported children, how your subject has let itself to providing children with opportunities to show their strengths, feel successful and positive about school, etc. Your years of teaching in mainstream have also been years of teaching children with SEN!
    cecdesigner likes this.
  3. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    And your brief supply work in SEN is experience. You explain how that has already shaped your thoughts very clearly in your post.
    Don't dismiss the stresses in Special. They are very different to mainstream though. It will be a steep learning curve, but teachers, with a passion for special and a skill in teaching are needed and often appreciated.
    It's the toughest, and the best job in the world... if it's the right one for you.
    Look forward to supporting you in the future.

    Good luck
    Flanks and cecdesigner like this.
  4. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    Courses and insett are usually provided by the school "on the job". Most special school will expect to train you as the needs of the students and the school culture can vary so much.
    There is a really good, quite challenging "do it yourself" course on line for free, that has been put together using powerpoints and videos and reading material by well known people working in the field. I think it's worth dipping in to...
    http://complexneeds.org.uk/ (not a lot of people know about it.

    I would also look at "routes for Learning" published by Learning Wales (also free to download)

    There's an assessment booklet and some videos and a "route map" which makes up a very useful and well used assessment tool for students working at the lower levels of development (people who are said to have profound and multiple learning difficulties.. PMLD)

    Also, if you can get on to any of the courses run by Jo Grace, Flo Longhorne, Ian Bean, Pete Wells, Les Staves or Pete Imray (to name some of the many well known 'gurus' in the field!) It would be very worth while. They also have a lot of interesting books on the subject that are practical and not too highbrow

    Jo Grace

    Ian Bean

    Pete Wells
    https://sensorystoriespodcast.com/ (listen to one of his podcasts ! )

    Les Staves

    Pete Imray
    cecdesigner, veneris and Flanks like this.
  5. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Keep applying for teaching posts. Many schools will give you a chance even if they say they want experience. Some won't but don't be put off by them.
    If you're not successful with getting a teaching post, either offer supply for a year in special schools or go for a TA post. I quite often take people in on that route and have employed as teachers those who have used that route in, either as TAs in mine or other schools. It demonstrates real commitment and weeds out the people who think they want to move to special schools because they think it's easier. It's not - it's a different kind of difficult though. Personally I think special ed is an absolute joy and I would never have said that of mainstream, even in my favourite mainstream schools.
    Don't worry about that lack of experience - explain how you were bitten by the bug. Lots of us understand that because it happened to us too.
    dzil and cecdesigner like this.
  6. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Just saw Dzil's post:
    Routes for Learning is the bomb for PMLD, and I highly recommend any of Peter Imray's books. Also do a bit of research into SCERTS. The P scales are on their way out but worth being aware of them and make sure you know about Diane Rochford's work on assessment for the DfE
    Mermaid7, dzil and cecdesigner like this.
  7. finfin

    finfin New commenter

    I moved into sen nearly 3 years ago after 12 years in mainstream. Make sure you visit the school you are applying to, I got a grilling from the Head when I visited, but it meant I got an interview and then the job.
    dzil likes this.
  8. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    After 18 years in mainstream, I moved to a specialist SEMH provision. Experience was encouraged, because basically you need to be able to teach without thinking about it because there is so much else going on. My UPS3 was accepted without question, and an SEN allowance added to it.
    Positives are that you bring very little home in terms of marking and preparation. Negatives are the mental (and physical) toll it takes. You literally can’t predict a day and for that reason are always on edge.
    I’ve done 2 years and am now moving back to mainstream as a senco. I really value the experience I’ve got and undoubtedly it’s helped me get this new post. I’m a better teacher because of it but it’s a very different job.
    Good luck.
    Flanks and carterkit like this.
  9. carterkit

    carterkit Occasional commenter

    Make sure you do your research and when you visit, you grill them as well. See if you can go in during the school day and make sure you look inside the classrooms. If the pupils appear to be running the school - run for the hills. There are some schools, especially SEMH settings, whose provision, for want of a better word, would make you want to weep. Working in a school like that can be truly soul destroying.

    Then there are some truly amazing special schools out there where the teachers and leaders have amazing in-depth knowledge of young people, special needs and pedagogy and live and breathe the idea that attainment is for all, it just looks different for some . Working in a place like that is a joy and a privilege.

    Don't jump at the first opportunity that comes along. Find the right setting and it could be a life-changing move.
    Flanks and dzil like this.

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