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want to apply for jobs as Special Needs Teacher or SENCO... how to get necessary experience

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by KindDog, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. I am a primary school teacher with 15 year's experience. I'd love to move away from whole class teaching and work as a Learning support Teacher. Another interest would be becoming a SENCO with some responsibility for teaching.

    The trouble is, most posts that I have seen advertised seem to want someone with experience. Now I do have some experience of Special Needs, as I am currently on a TDA funded dyslexia training course. (For anyone who knows this field, the qualification I wil get is equivalent to OCR level 5.) However, I still don't feel that this will be sufficient experience to help me get a job in this field.
    So...how do you become an experienced SEN teacher when there don't seem to be any obvious training routes to become one? I have looked at one or two MA courses, but I'm not sure if this is the best way in.

    Any advice?

  2. I would love to know the answer to that too.....I'm secondary trained but I'm really interested in becoming an SEN teacher....
    What about looking at jobs for SEN teachers and seeing what the spec says, then working towards those aspects?
  3. How about applying to local SEN schools and tell them what you have to offer? We often advertise for either NQT or those who would like to work in SEN very rarely do we ask for someone who is already experienced.
    Maybe go and see a school and ask them what they would be looking for - at least you would get yourself known!
  4. I was a primary teacher for 5 years before becoming a nurture group teacher in a secondary school - basically they wanted a primary teacher to teach the low ability year 7s English, maths and science. From this, I also became a member of the SEN team, and, when the deputy SENCO left, I took over her role.
    Lots of secondary schools are starting to have nurture groups for those year 7s who may find the whole secondary move a bit traumatic, and whilst not all of my class are on the SEN register, the vast majority (14 out of 17) are.
  5. KAT, that would be my dream job!

    Minnie, great idea about asking SENCO at my school to give me some of her work to do. I did think of asking her if I could shadow her for a while on my days off...

    Re approaching a SEN school... ultimately, I have more of an interest of working with SEN in a mainstream setting. I would be way out of my comfrot zone atm applying to teach in a special school. I could volunteer, though.
  6. Hi there. In response to the OP; I am about to embark on my PGCE Primary. I have been interested in SEN teaching for a long time. My undergraduate degree is in Special and Inclusive Education and Educational Development. My advice to you would be to look into Masters degrees, but also to revise in your own time. Find out simple things like:

    What a statement of Special Educational Needs is; (I know people who work in SEN departments and do not know this!!)

    The difference between School Action, School Action +, and a statement- in terms of provision and what it means for the child.

    Depending on the LEA that you work under will depend on whether you have an extra provision like MSG (Mainstream Support Group) funding. This is something that Nottingham City schools have access to, whether anywhere else has I do not know.

    Also try these books to start with and then go on from there:

    Ainscow. M (1997) Special Needs in the Classroom: A teacher?s Education Guide. London, Jessica Kingsley Publisher

    Ainscow. M (1999) Studies in Inclusive Education Series: Understanding the Development of Inclusive Schools. London, Falmer Press, Taylor and Francis Inc.

    Ainscow. M (2006) Improving Learning Series: Improving schools, Developing Inclusion. London, Routledge

    Armstrong. F, Moore. M (2004) Action Research for Inclusive Education: Changing Places, Changing Practices, Changing Minds. London, Routledge Falmer

    Bennett. N, Allyson. C (1989) From Special to Ordinary Schools: Case studies in Integration. London, Cassell

    Hope this helps. I am told that SENCo's now have to be fully qualified teachers (as apparently they didn't have to be!!) and you need a Masters in SEN/ Inclusion as well now. Whether that legislation has come through or not I am not sure, but I know it was in the pipeline this time last year!!

  7. I am so glad I found this forum!! My head is literally spinning with ideas on what to do....I think I need a to-do list.
    I like the idea of contacting special schools, I could try to meet with SENCOs and leave them my cv - I know as a Head of Faculty if a good person comes to me on supply or through voluntary work it's a godsend - I keep their details and encourage them to apply when a post arises.
    Has anyone got experience of the SENCO training? Do you have to be in post already, is it a chicken and egg situation?
    Thanks for all the ideas!

  8. Hi, I was speaking to a guy from Edge Hill univercity at the SEN conference in manchester last week about the national SENCO award as i'd love to do it but am not employed as a SENCO, he said they are looking at changing the requirements to allow people who want to be SENCOs to do it, to try and avoid the catch 22 it seems we're both stuck in. Looking at the university site today couldnt see anything about a change so you could always drop them an email and see what they say.
  9. I too struggled with this. I have always known I wanted to be an SEN teacher. I did a BA hons degree in primary teaching, and took a specialism in special needs and inclusion. However, I didn't think this was enough. I then went straight into a MSc masters degree in PMLD,before completing my NQT year. 3 days after completing this MSc I started my NQT as a PMLD teacher in a special school. I feel that without the extra qualifications I wouldn't have stood a chance at getting any job, let alone one in special education. There are such few posts around at the moment its almost a case of grab what you can while it's there and you can. Good luck!

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