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mainstream to SEN

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by mms1, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Hi all,

    Does anyone have experience of Headship in a SEN school? More specificallly a school that caters for Emotionally Disturbed Behaviour. I have seen a job in a small SEN school and whilst I'm not looking to apply, I did wonder what life is like on the SEN side.

    Just a talking point.
  2. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I moved from senior leadership in mainstream (18 years mainstream experience) to SEMH school. However I moved as a teacher role, no responsibility. To me, it was like a whole new job. To try to assume a leadership role would have been like me walking into Asda and saying ‘I shop here regularly, I can run the place’.
    I’ve been there two years now and, if a leadership role came up I would maybe consider it but I have definitely needed to go back to the bottom. Luckily the school valued experience so my UPS3 was honoured and the experience is certainly needed because you need to be able to teach without thinking about it, there are so many other factors to consider. I also know that people I work with can resent people coming straight from mainstream into management because they have so much to learn and they often make mistakes that make life difficult for those of us on the ground.
    mms1 and Flanks like this.
  3. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Great reply, thanks for taking the time. So leadership mainstream is radically different to leadership SEMH? I assumed the systems and cycles would be the same - clearly that's not the case. I love your analogy using Asda. I guess the mainstream have no idea about SEN schools as, in my experience, our exposure to them is incredibly limited. Can you expand on the challenges/differences?

    Thanks again.
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    As I’m not on leadership I couldn’t say, but the issues leaders have when they come from mainstream with no SEN experience is that teaching and learning, behaviour etc are very different in SEN and so are the strategies that teachers use, so if you haven’t done it you are basically leading something that you don’t understand. Also teaching assistants are used very differently and have much more responsibility.
    mms1 likes this.

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