Bridging Borders: Comparing SEND Education In India And The UK

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • About the career journey of a SEND Teacher in India.
  • About the obstacles SEND Teachers in India face.
  • Where the latest SEND Teacher jobs are and how to apply for them. 

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Teacher in India? Or how the education and SEND sector differs in India compared to the UK? 

In our latest interview, we spoke to SEND Teacher Gunjan Pasari to determine the similarities and differences in the education system in India and the UK.

After a brief year working in the media, Gunjan decided to switch careers and become a Children's Social Worker, before finding her true calling as a SEND Teacher in India. Towards the end of the pandemic, Gunjan founded Special Circle, an inclusive platform for children with and without special needs that delivers customised lessons according to the strengths of the child.

With a passion for enhancing all children’s academic skills and making a difference, Gunjan has juggled the role of educator and counsellor to provide a support system to children in India.

Throughout this interview, you’ll discover the obstacles SEND educators in India face, and what more can be done in a country like India to better equip children for the rest of the world.

Tell us about your career journey so far

My journey started like any other in the corporate world. After working in the media world for almost a year and ending up distraught, I realised it was not for me. I decided to switch to social work, working with children who are in need.

I was soon blessed to be a part of an non-governmental organisation that worked with urban street children in Delhi, India that was founded by Harsh Mander, a renowned author and social activist in India. 

Not only did it fill me with more compassion, but I also learned the true nature and importance of encompassing the social, emotional, physical and academic well-being of the child. 

After spending more than a couple of years there, I felt the urge to touch the lives of more children. It was then I came across some great mentors in Delhi and under their guidance pursued an intense course in special needs. This was followed by working in an inclusive school in Gurgaon for several years.

What inspired you to become a Teacher?

My passion for helping others, mostly children and sharing my experiences made me embark on the journey of becoming a Teacher. I started by volunteering and finally working as a full-time Education Resource Person for urban street children in Delhi.

After working with these children extensively, I decided to move on and pursue a postgraduate degree in special needs, to be better equipped for disability. I was mentored by Dr Geet Oberoi, founder of Orkids Foundation, an organisation which works towards creating national awareness, intervention and advocacy in the field of special needs.

Finally, I gained my richest experience as a full-time SEND Teacher in an inclusive school. I took pride when I was given the opportunity to learn more about special needs students and holistically work with them.

My job as a special educator required me to get familiar with all types of disabilities. I was wearing multiple caps as an educator, counsellor and part of the support system. Playing multiple roles enhanced my ability to switch gears and adapt comfortably whenever required.

What does your role as a Special Education Teacher consist of?

Currently, I work independently and run an inclusive, hybrid platform called Special Circle for children with and without special needs wherein I deliver customised lessons based on the strengths, challenges and needs of the child. I build connections with my students and ensure that I conduct the lessons in a fun way.

When you work for yourself, you have complete control over your schedule. This is liberating, but it may also be difficult. Creating a daily routine and visualising it not only gives me more structure but also predictability and readiness to face unforeseen challenges.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I typically begin my day by pressing both hands together (typically how people say ‘Namaste.’) I try to collect myself by meditating for a few moments before I take on the responsibilities of the day.

I generally lay the first stone of work by checking my emails and messages, followed by making and reverting to calls. This could be from the parents of my students, professionals in the same industry or just a wake-up call to my mum or friend in the other corner of the country.

This is followed by researching and preparing for my forthcoming sessions for the week. A lot of effort goes into doing the groundwork for lessons, emphasising concepts, gathering study materials, creating props and at the same time making it fun and interesting for my students.

There are also days when I am busy collaborating or networking with professionals in the educator sector, interacting and guiding my team members, writing some content for my social media or thinking of some ideas on how to create an ecosystem in my city. 

Inbetween sessions, I enjoy sipping a cup of coffee and going for a walk amidst nature, thereby energising my mind and soul. I prefer to get to work early so I can finish earlier, giving me more time at the end of the day to have fun! I call it a day at 10pm or so, once my sessions end.

How have things changed or progressed in the education and SEND industry?

Educators and administrators are taking initiatives to create an inclusive set-up for children with special needs in the school system. A lot of emphasis is now given to the holistic development of the child, including social and emotional skills.

There is also an increase in assistive technology such as digital tools and software to support the needs of the students and people are now more open to online learning options.

How do you keep up-to-date with changes in the education and SEND industry?

I keep interacting with professionals and parents in the same field, be it in person or through a Zoom call. I am a part of several groups on social media forums – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc. During my spare time, I enjoy reading books too. Lately, I have been hooked on ‘I Have Autism’ by Debashis Paul.


What have you learned so far in your career?

I have to learn to work on myself and be calmer, patient, creative and organised. I try to maintain a sharp focus, go the extra mile to help my students maximise their potential and remain at ease while dealing with parents who have a lot on their plate.


What do you feel can be done to support the needs of pupils with SEND?

I feel we need to have more programs, more so in a country like India to equip our students for the larger world. We have to get them ready for their life, and enhancing their vocational and life skills is vital.


What challenges or obstacles have you faced in your career?

One of the biggest obstacles I have faced in my career is dealing with the parents of pupils with special needs. Often, parents consult me about concerns or issues they may be experiencing at home. Because many parents lack the specialised training I have gained over the years, they lean on me for continuous guidance.

Some parents of children with special needs are overwhelmed with the number of demands placed on their time and energy. It's normal for them to feel like this and experience high levels of stress and burnout.

At times, it can be challenging to meet their expectations and deal with their anxieties. As a special needs Teacher, I try to maintain a positive relationship with them. This could be simply by giving them a listening ear, addressing their problems and trying to see things from their perspective. I also keep them updated about their child’s needs as this helps them to deal with difficult situations more easily.

What do you feel can be done to support the needs of pupils with SEND?

I feel our pupils with SEND need an empathy-filled environment, be it from the immediate caregivers to professionals and society in general. Empathy should be used as a tool to help these students maximise their potential.

While a lot of professionals equip themselves with the best resources and figure out the best strategies to deal with students, they need to work on the bedrock of education.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to become a Special Education Teacher?

SEND Teachers should be filled with empathy. When empathy guides teaching, Teachers can better see the world through the students’ eyes. I think this can lead to less judgement, more compassion, a stronger community, and better strategies to cope with the needs of the child. It would also help Teachers to analyse their teaching skills too and tweak them according to the needs of students.


What are your career plans for the future?

Well, I would like to work with children all my life. I envision myself creating an ecosystem wherein professionals and parents can exchange ideas, collaborate and work out strategies to support the needs of pupils with and without special needs.

SEND Teacher jobs

If you’re searching for your next SEND Teacher job, why not take a look at the latest teaching vacancies, or simply upload your CV to be notified when a relevant position becomes available.

Recruit SEND Teachers

As a specialist SEND recruitment agency, we support mainstream and SEND schools with their temporary, permanent and temp-perm staffing needs. 

We currently work with hundreds of schools and have exclusive access to some of the best SEND Teachers and SEND Teaching Assistants in the North West.

If you’re struggling to fill a teaching vacancy, why not get in touch with one of our team to see how we can help?

Share your experience

Every individual brings a unique set of experiences, thoughts, and insights to the table. We believe in giving a voice to a community of professionals to inspire positive change and champion reform in the education sector.  

If you work in the education sector and would like to share your own personal and professional experiences, we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps you have a different perspective, could offer a fresh angle, or want to challenge assumptions. 

Simply reach out to our Head of Content, Nicole Sherwood, to discuss a collaboration which makes your voice count.

Meet Jamie Heath

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

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