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Things To Know When Working With Special Needs Pupils

A special needs teacher works with children who require special assistance with their learning due to physical disability, mental disability or behavioural disorders. An SEN techer has the ability to be one of the most rewarding jobs although it is not without its challenges.

SEN teaching often involves everyday educational learning, helping to develop key social skills, personal care and lots more. Every pupil and situation is different, so someone with the right personality, skills and approach is absolutely essential.

Qualifications Needed To Become A Special Needs Teacher

There is no unique qualification to become a special needs teacher and the requirements are the same as a regular teaching role. You will need a degree level qualification and then a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for the vast majority of schools in England. Your undergraduate degree may be in any field, although it will improve your job prospects if it is in a subject related to special needs teaching.

To acquire a QTS there are again a number of routes to take. You may choose to take it as part of your university course or acquire it on the job through a school-based placement.

Our learning hub is a valuable resource for individuals looking to expand their skill set. It offers a range of specialist courses on all teaching related positions to give you the knowledge and skills to progress further, including the ‘Exploring Learning Difficulties’ course. This gives you crucial information on the correct methods of interaction and engagement with special needs children, as well as some of the common barriers these children face. Simply create an account and choose a course that is right for you.

Additional Training: Preparation for Teaching in an SEN School

Any individual who is already qualified as a teacher may teach special needs children, although they will most likely have to show some level of experience in the past. Teaching courses that offer SEN modules are a great place to show your interest, skills and enthusiasm for the role.

Alternatively, hands-on experience with children with special needs is invaluable. If you already work in a school you may choose to assist with SEN teaching to better your skillset. Volunteering in a school, youth club or sports facility is also a great way of getting the skills you need and showcases a proactive approach to your career for future employers. Charity work in a relevant non-profit organisation is another good option and they are always looking for extra help throught the year.

Qualities You Should Have When Working with SEN Children

Working with special needs children requires a different set of skills than children without disabilities. All children with special needs are different although there are some general practises to bear in mind to ensure they feel comfortable and engaged:

Interact Accordingly

One of the key characteristics that you’ll need to be a teacher of SEN children is the ability to adapt your behaviour according to the child or situation. SEN children can be unpredictable so it’s crucial that you remain flexible to adjust your approach if necessary.

Be Passionate

To be a truly successful SEN teacher you must be passionate about your work at all times. Your students will be more engaged and responsive if they feel like you truly care about them. Passion is a major part of creating strong relationships and helps to keep you motivated during challenging periods.

Great Communication Skills

Communication skills are absolutely crucial for SEN teachers. Individuals should be able to engage with students on a personal level, building strong relationships using empathy and trust. It’s important to note that SEN teachers should be skilled at assessing and addressing issues as some children with special needs will have trouble communicating their emotions. As well as this, SEN teachers are required to communicate the behaviour and progress of their students to parents and carers.


A good special needs teacher must have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Whilst working with special needs children is often deeply rewarding, it is also possible for it to be challenging. Students don’t always want to work with you or their preferences can change very quickly. Something that they enjoyed yesterday is not always something they will enjoy today. Having patience and the ability to keep calm in difficult situations is a must.

Become a Special Needs Teaching Assistant

LTF Recruitment has a range of opportunities for special needs teachers across the UK. Whether you’re looking for a temporary teaching assistant role at the beginning of your career or a longer term role for something more permanent, we are passionate about finding you the right workplace. Our nationwide network helps us to find the very best opportunities for you with the right levels of progression, pay and fulfilment. Upload your CV to get started.

Our vacancies page can be used to search for SEN job listings – simply choose your location, select special needs from the drop down menu and start your journey today. Alternatively, contact LTF Recruitment today to find out more about our range of SEM teacher roles.