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Would you recommend a Senco/SN career and how to go about it while abroad?

(11 Posts)
somuchtosortout Sun 15-Feb-15 18:10:58

Hello -
So at the moment we are living abroad through DH work. There is an International school where I have done occasional supply work.
I trained to teach in Secondary (English) in the UK then ended up teaching primary in various International schools and as an HLTA in the UK.

I didn't end up getting my QTS at the end of my training year because of a sudden move overseas, so when we go back to England I will have to do some sort of pgce/gtp programme, which doesn't daunt me too much.

However I really want to use these next two years to do something for my career. I'm thinking either some distance learning as well as trying to get some voluntary support teaching.

But not sure what training would be the most useful? Should I go the whole way and do a degree level Child psychology? Is there a particularly good provider training teachers in Special Needs?
Could I do some short courses when back in the UK? Any good reading resources you would recommend?

I would really want the best possible training, as I now have the luxury of time and a bit of money to invest in this. I am really interested in how children's development, aspects of dyslexia, adhd etc… and trying to really understand how a young person's brain works.

Any advice would be most welcome, thank you!

somuchtosortout Mon 16-Feb-15 09:14:02

Oh dear, not a very inspiring thread obviously!

CharlesRyder Mon 16-Feb-15 17:53:36

Most SEN teachers (in Special Schools) do not have formal additional training (in my experience anyway). They have just moved across from mainstream and learned on the job.

There is now the formal masters level SENCo course that SENCos must have. I think it is called National Accreditation for SENCos. Obviously this will become essential if you want to be a SENCo but I'm not sure whether you can access it unless you are already working in SEN.

If you wanted a Learning Support Teacher job in an independent school the OCR Level 5/Level 7 SpLD course would be extremely useful as many job specs specify this as a requirement.

To answer your question would I recommend a job in SEN- absolutely. I have worked for 10 years as a classroom SEN teacher (mainly ASD and challenging behaviour/ EBD) and I still love my job in a way I don't think many mainstream teachers do. I still have the freedom to do what my children need and as I rarely have more than 8 children in my class I am not crippled by marking and monitoring. <whispers> I don't even take work home.

I did a year as an SLT Inco in mainstream. That I hated. I would not work in mainstream the way things are at the moment.

Imsosorryalan Mon 16-Feb-15 19:17:59

I would agree that all senco advertised jobs in mainstream these days are for senco teachers with the new qualification. However, it does seem to be more of a pear filling excercise and staff training responsibility rather than working closely with children with sen!

Charles Ryder, hijacking thread a bit but how do you find the behaviour management side? It's something I'm interested in but having to contain unruly children/restraining puts me off!

CharlesRyder Mon 16-Feb-15 20:27:24

Well, I actively opt for children with extremely challenging behaviour so I'm not sure I can answer your question.

Do you mean is there a big element of behaviour management to working in special schools in general? This I don't know as I've only ever worked in EBD SS and HFASD/ EBD Resource bases.

Yes I deal with a lot of kicking off and sometimes have to restrain, but I always see it as a learning process for both me and the child about what they need.

LuvMyBoyz Tue 17-Feb-15 00:10:14

Being a ms SENCO is a bit overwhelming at the moment...at least it is for me.

somuchtosortout Tue 17-Feb-15 05:58:07

Thank you everyone! Luv I can imagine it can be overwhelming in a MS school, as Charles points out it is a whole different ball game if you are just teaching a SN class rather than being on SLT.

That is part of the appeal for me, as coming back to the UK with 2 (or maybe 3!) primary age children I don't think I can just throw myself in to a full time teaching position without probably having a nervous breakdown, from the sound of how things are going! (even though I like to imagine that I would cope just fine, not sure reality will meet my expectations).

I also found it really rewarding working with children with additional needs when I was HLTA, I found myself desperately wanting to understand more how the brain of these children was developing differently and wanted to see the world from their point of view. It was endlessly fascinating to me and I really wanted to understand more about dyslexia/autism etc..

Charles I did a quick google of the OCR courses, they all seem to focus on dyslexia/literacy difficulties?
Do you deal with a range of needs in your class? And if I may ask, did you mostly get to this job through experience of working with children in mainstream schools ?

I'm wondering if it is possible to get to a Senco position in a short space of time of if I have to put in years of teaching first. It's getting quite frustrating as my career has been so stop-start because of our constant moving, I am getting depressed at the thought of having to start from the bottom again at the age of 40, as I don't think my experience of teaching in International schools will count for much back in the UK.

CharlesRyder Tue 17-Feb-15 07:59:17

Independent school learning support departments want those OCR courses because they enable you to screen for dyslexia which is the difficulty they are likely to have most of. They are keen for you to be able to do the paperwork for access arrangements (extra time in exams) too which I think involves another course.

In my current setting the 'entry criteria' is an ASD diagnosis but all the children have other issues, whether associated or not including: attachment disorder, speech and language difficulties, sensory needs, literacy difficulties and challenging behaviour. Several are also G&T in maths and ICT. In other settings I have taught in the challenging behaviour had been the entry criteria and there is always a colourful myriad of underlying causes for it.

I started off in ms (and hated it), went off to do a peripatetic role then took a job in ms teaching a nurture group. Nurture groups that are run by actual teachers are now like gold dust, they are usually run be HLTAs. Then I went into an EBD SS and onwards from there.

IME SENCos in big schools are non class based and don't really get to see children at all because there is so much paperwork. SENCos in small schools have class teaching responsibility as well so they are equally pressured.

TotheBarricades Tue 17-Feb-15 08:30:19

Just finishing Dyslexia Action's certificate - it has been an eye-opener. Most conditions co-occur and share key cognitive differences. Understanding what underpins difficulties means you can support, intervene and actually make a difference.
Book wise - love "The Essentials of ....." series, "Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Mathematics", Jessica Kingsley publications ..... the list is endless.
Good luck. Have fun choosing a course.

somuchtosortout Tue 17-Feb-15 10:20:17

Thank you! Agree with you Charles I think most Senco roles are very admin based.
Will look up those books Tothe, thanks very much, I have some food for thought.

blueemerald Tue 17-Feb-15 14:23:32

I am in my second year of teaching and got a job (teaching English) in an EBD school without any extra qualifications but I had a lot of experience working with students with SN/SEN before doing my teacher training (LSA work etc).

I would whole heartedly recommend working in special schools. I love my job and every time my old coursemates post pictures of all their marking on Facebook or messages about staying until 9pm for parents' evening my heart sings. It is tough, a student deliberately smashed my glasses two weeks ago and I'm waiting for a hole to be filled in my classroom wall where a different boy punched it bit I think it is infinitely more rewarding than working in mainstream education at the moment.

I agree that SENCOs don't get much contact time though.

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