We talk to a primary teacher at Blossom Hill in Wimbledon, which is an SEN school for pupils with speech, language and communication difficulties.
What does your job entail?
I teach lessons – these can be small group sessions, or individual sessions for pupils needing extra support with their literacy. I also support other teachers in all curriculum areas if pupils need help with reading, writing etc. The job also involves writing reports for annual reviews, meeting parents, writing lesson plans and so on.
What’s the best bit?
When a child realises that he is reading by himself something that he couldn’t read before.
And the worst?
Helping the parents to grieve through the difficulty of having a child with special needs, and accepting that the special need will not simply go away.
What qualifications and experience do you need?
You need to have a degree, QTS (qualified teaching status), and lots of the staff here have OCR SpLD level 5 (dyslexia). We also do a lot of CPD (continual professional development). You need experience working with children with special needs.
What advice would you give someone who would like to become a special needs teacher?
If you do not have any experience of working with children with SEN, volunteer in your free time wherever you can – with other schools, groups, charities and so on.