How To Become a SEND Teacher

1 - 2 minutes

Special educational needs (SEND) teachers work with children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities.

Working as a SEND teacher can be an incredibly rewarding career as they are helping young people to thrive in and out of an educational setting.

Disabilities could include speech, hearing or sight impairments and behavioural or learning difficulties could include ADHD, autism or dyslexia.

These difficulties can have a direct impact on the individual's ability to learn and as such, they need additional support.

A SEND child might have:

  • Problems with understanding other people, numbers and general information
  • Difficulties with reading and writing
  • Problems building relationships with adults
  • Difficulties with organising their time
  • Behavioural struggles, including difficulties with expressing feelings
  • Struggles with physical or sensory needs

As these teachers will work with children with various physical and emotional needs, it can be an incredibly demanding yet rewarding career. Due to the importance of this role, SEND teachers must have very specific skills and qualifications.

Key skills include:

  • Empathy
  • Patience and understanding
  • Effective communication skills
  • Behaviour management, particularly dealing with challenging behaviour
  • Teamwork
  • Organisational skills
  • Adaptability to changing situations

Becoming a SEND teacher - the university route

There are different routes to becoming a SEND teacher. One route is through an undergraduate degree at university which leads to qualified teacher status (QTS). Examples of these include:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

You could also complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), if you have a first degree without QTS. This is a popular option and can be completed at university or on a school-based training programme.

To qualify for a university course, you'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • GCSE science at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) for primary school teaching
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

At present, there is no postgraduate special needs teacher training route to help you directly prepare for working in a SEN school. As such, many SEND teachers will gain experience of managing SEND children at their primary or secondary school before moving into this area full time.

Becoming a SEND teacher - the apprenticeship route

Another route to becoming a SEND teacher is through an apprenticeship. If you have a degree, there are a small number of postgraduate teaching apprenticeships available.

To qualify for an apprenticeship, you'll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • GCSE science at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) for primary school teaching
  • A degree for a teaching apprenticeship

Becoming a SEND teacher - if you’re already a qualified teacher

If you're already a qualified teacher, you could apply for extra training from your local education authority to become a SEND teacher. There are many virtual and in person teacher training eventswhich can advise you about different training routes and funding.

If you’re looking to join a SEND private school, the entry requirements may be different to those of a state school.

Becoming a SEND teacher - if you’re already a teaching assistant

If you're already a teaching assistant, you could join a development programme such as ‘Straight to Teaching’ by Tes Institute. As teaching assistants are already well acquainted with the school and children they would be working with, these types of programmes are designed to support them in taking the next step to gaining qualifications.

To start the ‘Straight to Teaching’ programme, you have to already be working in a school.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

Planning, Development & Regeneration 

Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.

© Spencer Clarke Group 2023
Site by Venn