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Moving into SEN - how to prepare

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by tty116, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. I'm moving into SEN teaching, but my previous experience has been mainstream.
    Though excited for the change, and smaller class sizes, I'm also nervous and want to prepare in the best way I can for September.
    Is there anything I can be doing in advance, such as reading certain books that will help guide me? Or any advice you have that could help.
    Any advice/experiences/recommendations would really help put my mind at rest :)
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by "moving into SEN teaching" and "my previous experience has been mainstream"? I also worked in a mainstream secondary school, teaching French and German for over twenty years in the MFL department, before moving into the same mainstream school's SEN department to teach students with moderate and specific learning difficulties, speech and language difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, hearing impairment, visual impairment and physical disabilities. Are you following in my footsteps, or joining the staff of a special school? SEN teaching goes on in both types of institution, but their ethos and working practices may differ, so it's difficult to offer you focused advice before clearing up exactly what your plans are.
  3. which sort of move are you making? what sort of abilities will you be working with? perhaps generally look at different conditions (both books and sites) and information about communication. they're always good places to start.
  4. Hi Dodros, thanks for your reply.
    I've taught maths in secondary schools, often with classes of low-ability and with some learning difficulties.
    However my new job will be at an SEN school still teaching maths, but exclusively with pupils with learning difficulties like dyspraxia, dyslexia, autism.
    I know that there will be lots of differentiation and close knowledge of statements, and basics such as adjustments such as paper colour for dyslexic students, emphasis of key words, and similar, but not much specific knowledge beyond that.
    I just wanted to know if there are any useful ways in which I can prepare before I start.

  5. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    My experience has been exclusively with students with SEN in a mainstream secondary school, so I hesitate to give advice about the learning environment within a special school. What I can say, however, is that you should familarise yourself with the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the students you teach: read their files! Such information will help you differentiate your delivery to accommodate their specific needs and to build on what they are good at.
    On the topic of mathematics, there is an abundant professional literature relating to the teaching of the subject to those with SEN. Several years ago, I compiled some SEN bibliographies, each covering one National Curriculum subject, and my Maths one has quite an extensive list of references:
    The document has ASD and SpLD sections, so you may find something useful there to inform your Maths teaching.
  6. little_miss_teach

    little_miss_teach New commenter

    Can i ask how you got your job and how you find it? I teach maths in a mainstream setting mainly to low ability and some learning difficulties but am looking to make the move to a special school. I just wondered how the school felt about you with your experience and did they want any specific sen qualifications or were they happy for you to learn on the job?
  7. impis

    impis New commenter

    I work in a school for students with MLD. We will soon be advertising for a maths coordinator. The person appointed will probably also be form tutor to a Y10 class. Most students at our school work towards Entry 3 [approx NC Level 3-5 by the end of Y 11 - but we do have some high achievers who work at or above the level expected for their age.]
    I have often been asked to state when we have vacancies - so here is some advanced notice. I'm not sure when the advert will go in - but will keep you informed if you're interested.
  8. little_miss_teach

    little_miss_teach New commenter


    Where abouts in the country are you?
    Would a school consider someone who had been a mainstream teacher as I have taught entry level for 3 years to low ability pupils with some special needs and am currently teaching in a school with great behaviour problems?
  9. impis

    impis New commenter

    We are in the West Midlands.
    Yes, most of our teachers have come from mainstream . A desire to work in SEN and a keen interest in the kids and their education, is what we look for. We are particularly, I think, looking for a maths specialist. Experience in SEN is a bonus, but not essential. Patience and a very good sense of humour are vital though.

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