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Transition from Special Ed. to Mainstream

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by ABCDETeacher, May 29, 2020.

  1. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    Morning, hope that everyone is well.

    I'm currently looking to return to mainstream from special ed. I'm applying for DHT jobs, x2 interviews but lost out to internals both times. Do I need to look at AHT or even HoF roles?

    About me:
    - 12yrs mainstream, incl. 4yrs HoD & 5yrs AHT (SENCO, Safeguarding & Transition)
    - 2yrs as Head of T&L + Curriculum (SLT) & 3yrs as Head at a small special school.
    - Last 2yrs Head of Virtual School at LA.
    - Consultant SEN Adviser for a MAT for last 1yr.
    - Ad-hoc lecturer on NASENCO course.
    - Completed NPQH + MA Ed.

    Do you think I've been out of the mainstream game for too long to go back in at SLT level. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  2. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter


    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Interesting question and very much dependent on the type of school you're applying to.
    SLT can be quite ' cliquey' and outsiders sometimes get appointed when incumbents move out to pastures new. Would it be best to go in for standard or middle leader positions and then see how the land lies ? A wider field to explore for you ?
    ABCDETeacher likes this.
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    Interesting one.
    You’ve got a wealth of experience; you just need to find a school that needs it.
    I did 18 years in mainstream, then 2 years in an SEMH school. I left there to be a SENCo in mainstream. My experience particularly of the EHCP process was seen as a positive, but that was because the SEN department was in a dire state and they had numerous overdue EHCP reviews.
    I don’t think you will be as successful in schools that are part of big Trusts that run as well oiled machines. You might be seen as almost knowing too much, and be a bit of a threat to those who might have moved quickly through the ranks and know a lot about their little bit. I know I’m generalising wildly here. If I was you I’d be looking at schools, perhaps an LA one or in a small trust, that are floundering a bit. Poor Ofsted, low numbers, deprived area, struggling to get results. Your experience in SEN and safeguarding could be just what they need.
    Good luck.
    VeronicAmb and ABCDETeacher like this.
  5. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    This is a really interesting take on things, looking at a role in a struggling school would be something I'd be very interested in. I've not applied for any SENCO roles as of yet - my worry with going back into an Inclusion role in mainstream is that they can be quite 'dead-end'. I obviously see the experience the role builds in preparation for a DHT and HT post, but I'm not sure many others recognise it sadly - I don't know many DHT/HTs who've been SENCOs for any significant period. Although I suppose it could be a good way back in for me. Lots if food for thought, thank you.
  6. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    Thanks very much for this too. I hear what you're saying about SLT being cliquey and so maybe needing to get back into mainstream again before being able to climb.

    I have been considering putting in a flexible working request so that I could do some supply work 1 day a week in mainstream. Do you think that might help, or do you think I need to get back in and on the ground as a school middle leader first? Thanks!

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Personally, I'd get back in as soon as possible. All hands are needed on deck right now !
    Good luck :)
    ABCDETeacher likes this.
  8. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I wouldn’t do the supply one day a week thing. Too bitty. I don’t think it would be seen to add anything to your application.

    Maybe the right job just hasn’t come along yet.

    You say you were consultant SEN advisor for a MAT last year. I’m assuming they are mainstream? Why don’t you ask someone there for advice as to what they would look for / how to go about things?
    ABCDETeacher likes this.
  9. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    That was my worry about the supply thing too..good to hear both your thoughts. Thank you, I'll scrap that idea I think.

    I think you're right about the right job not appearing yet. I'll just keep looking. I guess recruitment is a bit all over the place at the moment so probably not the best time to be looking!

    Yeah that's right, I basically mentored new SENCOs in the MAT schools and ran some CPD for middle leaders and school inset days. One of the DHT roles I was interviewed for was in the MAT, so I got some useful feedback on my application and interview from them about needing to sell my experience in mainstream more. Definitely a good shout asking them for more advice though, and something I'd not really thought of. Thanks folks, I'll keep y'all posted.
  10. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I can see how if you interviewed for a DHT role in the MAT and didn’t get it, that might have knocked your confidence as well. I would definitely still approach them for advise. There will be a way back in, and you have a lot of valuable experience it’s about finding the role that needs that experience.
    ABCDETeacher likes this.

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