Teaching Students with Special Education Needs in England

Many overseas-trained teachers who relocate to England to expand and continue their teaching careers will encounter working with special education needs (SEN) students.

You will find many students with special educational needs are integrated into mainstream schools. Often international teachers benefit professionally by working in a range of settings and take on some additional training to develop more in this area.

Schools that are hiring teachers from overseas will not necessarily require you to be trained in SEN and will support you to adapt and develop on the job with special training courses. Your current teaching qualification would likely have covered the skills you need to work with SEN students with a range of complex needs. Moving countries and teaching in England is an opportunity to further develop in this area of expertise if you have a growing interest in this area.

Alternative Provision Schools

Some schools are called Alternative Provision (AP) Schools. These settings provide education for children who can’t attend a mainstream school for a variety of reasons.

These schools can specialise in a range of needs such as;

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Sensory and physical needs

Pupil Referral Units

You may come across pupil referral units (PRUs). Students who attend a PRU have usually been excluded from a mainstream school due to anti-social behaviour or significant emotional behaviour difficulties (EBD). The concept is to support students to re-integrate back into the mainstream school.  These students need a lot of extra care, nurturing and support for a variety of reasons. Most students do not stay in PRUs long-term.

Any qualified and trained teacher with an interest in working with SEN students can work in these schools. The day-to-day class management will be the main difference. Getting students to attend class, participate in lessons and accept 1-1 support can be very different to a mainstream school. Class sizes are smaller, and you will be expected to tailor personal education plans to individual students’ needs. Often the students will have external support in their timetables such as counselling with social workers and psychologists. The teacher in charge would normally be fully aware of the individual programme and be planning alongside external agencies. This type of setting is usually suited to a teacher who has a strong sense of empathy, understanding and discipline. Managing and coping with unpredictable behaviour is a key skill and strength is required.

You can delve deeper into the SEND code of practice: 0-25 here and data around Special Education needs in England here.

Teach in England with Point to Point Education

If you are passionate about working with pupils with special education needs and want to explore this field more while teaching in the UK, please mention this to your Point to Point Consultant as there is a lot of scope and opportunity available.

Interested in applying for a position? Fill out our expression of interest form to check your eligibility.