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How to Get a Job in a Special Education School

02 February 2024

Ever wondered how to start a career in a special school? This article discusses the importance of working with children and young people with special educational needs and the best way of starting your career in the sector.

Why are Special Schools so important?

Over 1.5 million students in the UK have special educational needs which has increased by 87,000 from 2022 to 2023. This trend of increase has continued from 2016 and demonstrates the massive need for more SEN provision, but also for specialist teachers and clinical staff to work in these environments.

Students with special educational needs, although a lower percentage of total students, require greater support. Not only do they require access to specialist teachers, but support from a greater number of teaching and pastoral assistants as well as clinical staff. This sector is growing massively with many opportunities for those who want to make a difference to those students who are often forgotten about in a mainstream setting.


What are the challenges?

Students who attend special schools usually have a diverse range of needs and whilst working with them to create the best possible futures is incredibly rewarding, it also brings many challenges.

No day is the same and the combination of managing students as well as coordinating with other staff members from different teams, such as clinicians can be difficult. It’s important to note that qualities such as empathy, resilience, patience and commitment are key to working in this sector.

Due to the nature of this work, we strongly encourage those who are interested, but haven’t had experience to spend some time in a special school. Keep an eye out for volunteering opportunities or placements that can give you a real life insight.


How do I get a job as a teacher in a special school?

Although there are a small number of postgraduate teacher training courses that specialise in SEND, the most common route it to take a non-specialist teacher qualification and to develop your experience and skills in special education within a mainstream setting. Another route is by starting as a teaching assistant in a special school as many do not require any qualifications prior and you can then go on to train as a teacher.

The key is to try and get as much experience as possible in a special education setting and attain your qualified teacher status.


How do I get a non-teaching role in a special school?

A great many roles in special schools require no qualifications with experience and certain characteristics accepted instead. Teaching assistants and some pastoral roles are great opportunities to begin your career in SEN. If you don’t always want to work directly with the students, there are also opportunities to join in positions such as cooks and maintenance workers.

The key thing SEN schools look for is experience so if you can get that whether it’s in a school, your local community or through course placements, this will bolster your application massively.

Here at WG we have a diverse range of opportunities to join us with roles at Head Office as well as in the education, clinical and care sectors. Take a look at what we have available on our job search page or if you’re not quite ready yet and want to keep up to date, sign up to our Talent Community!

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