Improving the SEND Sector: Advice from a SEND Teaching Assistant

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • What it’s like to be a SEND Teaching Assistant.
  • What changes can be made to improve the SEND sector.
  • How to find and apply for the best SEND Teaching Assistant jobs.

In our latest interview with a SEND Teaching Assistant, we uncovered some of the rising issues in the education and SEND sector. With so many challenges and obstacles in the way, we’re giving SEND teaching professionals a chance to air their thoughts about the impact of meaningful change and what it’s really like to work in the sector right now.

The State of Education survey recently revealed that over three quarters of school staff say more learning support assistants are needed in the classroom for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

We recently caught up with a SEND Teaching Assistant working in a mainstream school to explore what improvements can be made to the education sector to ensure the needs of children and young people with SEND are met.

Having worked as a SEND Teaching Assistant for over 10 years and with previous experience working as a nursery nurse, this teaching professional has witnessed a lot of change in the education sector and believes that all pupils should have access to the resources and support needed to fulfil their potential.

This SEND Teaching Assistant shares her thoughts and discusses the need for more teaching staff to provide support for children and young people with SEND. 

What does your role consist of?

My role consists of working with children, mainly with one to one children with SEN. I deliver the lessons planned to the child or sometimes a small group. I have to make sure the environment is safe for the children and ensure the displays are up to date.

What does a typical school day look like for you?

A typical work day for me is waking up at 6:30am, shower and get ready, have my medication and check emails, then wake up the kids. Then I come downstairs to make my lunch, around 7am, I do my daughters hair and check my emails. 

I then leave the house around 7:45 am, I make a quick stop at my mum's house to check on her, then from there, I drive to work.

For the children who come into school early, I read with them and then I greet the rest of the children who arrive at around 8:45 am. 

Throughout the day I am with my one to one child and I deliver the appropriate lesson to them. I have my dinner at 12:00pm and then in the afternoon, I work with a different child, on a one to one basis until 3:15pm. After the children have left I check that everything is tidy and catch up with any displays or emails.

After work I go to my mothers house where my kids go after school to give her company whilst cooking tea for the family. 

Around 7:30pm, we go home and then I clean up the house if needed, then around 9pm (ish), I go to bed. This is my typical day when I am at work. 

On the weekends or during the half term, I like to wake up a little later and spend time with my family.  


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

I keep up with the changes of the SEND industry by looking out for new emails and attending training that has been provided - or any new information from the Headteacher. If there is anything I am unsure about, I will research it. 


What's the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career?

The most valuable lesson I have learned in my career is that every child has very different needs and requires different ways of learning, talking and understanding to accommodate those needs. Most importantly, at the end of the day, all children need the same thing which is love and care.

What is your favourite aspect of your role as a SEND Teaching Assistant?

My favourite aspect of my role as SEN Teaching Assistant is seeing the children grow and to see the changes in them throughout their education. I also love working alongside a strong team of other SEND Teaching Assistants who support each other when needed.

Reform in the SEND sector continues to be a huge topic of discussion. How have things changed or progressed in the SEND sector since the start of your career?

Since starting my career as SEND Teaching Assistant, I have noticed that a larger number of children with behavioural challenges and emotional needs are attending mainstream school.

There is also a lot more abuse towards staff from children with special needs. 

Some children with special needs are being segregated as they may show low levels of disruption so this means that they are not included within the mainstream section of the school.

What changes would you like to see to better support the needs of children and young people with SEND?

The changes I would like to see to better support the needs of children with SEND would be, that if a SEND child is to attend a mainstream school then we should teach them life skills as well as compulsory curriculum.

I would also like more staff to be able to work with children with challenging behaviours and support given to staff and schools to provide adequate space for sensory needs. 

If mainstream schools are unable to provide the space or equipment to meet a child's sensory and communication development then we need to support parents so that they can apply for a special needs school.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in SEND education?

The advice I would give to anyone considering a career in SEND is that they should be prepared for challenges, emotional and behavioural from the child or young person with SEND. It is a wonderful career as you get to see the children develop and grow not only with their educational needs but also their ability to be independent where possible.

What’s next for you?

As I have a Teaching Assistant level 3 qualification and at present I am only employed as a level 2 SEND Teaching Assistant, I am hoping to further my career and apply for a job that will encourage me to further my qualification to a level 4 Teaching Assistant. My main project is to provide for my 3 children and for them to have a successful future.

SEND Teaching Assistant jobs

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

If you enjoyed this content, you might also like: 

Recruit SEND Teaching Assistants

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?

Primary schools - Jimmy Callagher 

Secondary schools - Liam Jones

SEND schools - Jamie Heath 

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

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