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NQT Year in Special Needs School

(43 Posts)
Featurewall Tue 28-Apr-20 17:19:47

Hi,just wondering if anyone could give mr any advice. I am looking to start my nqt year in Sept & have seen that a school for children with severe and complex needs beae me is recruiting. I have always wanted to teach in a special needs school but always assumed you'd need more experience but the role says NQTs welcome to apply. Are there any SEN teachers here who could advise? All my placements were mainstream so i really dont have much SEN experience but am interested and willing to learn

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parrotonmyshoulder Tue 28-Apr-20 17:22:09

If you’re really keen to work in special schools , then go for it. Make sure you get al the additional training you need written into your action plan .

Featurewall Tue 28-Apr-20 18:25:11

Thank you. I just feel like they might dismiss my application having had no real special schools experience! I dont even know where I would start to try and plan a lesson. Are there any onlind resources / reading you could suggest? Thank you so much

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userabcname Tue 28-Apr-20 18:42:46

I did my NQT year in an SEN school and stayed a further two years (I'm back in mainstream now). I didn't have any particular experience other than what everyone had been offered on my PGCE (we did a couple of workshops in SEN schools) and it was clear the school was mainly looking for enthusiasm and willingness to learn. All the training we needed was provided- we had a lot of it to ensure we could cater to all the children at the school. I would recommend asking if you can have a look around the school first to see what you think (although this may be tricky in the current situation). Be friendly, approachable and ask lots of questions at the interview. Highlight in your application why you are interested in SEN, what you hope to gain from the school, what you think you can bring to the school/ role. I'd have a look at the school site and see if they state which particular needs they cater to and maybe research those a bit so you have something to go on if they ask you what you'd do in certain situations. Good luck!

LottieRose92 Tue 28-Apr-20 18:43:53

I would absolutely go for it, I just did a quick google of SEND CPD course and a few came up. If you signed up to one or more you could mention that on your application? The first couple of weeks will prob be intense but worth it! Also a lot of papers on scholar if you can access that.

Featurewall Tue 28-Apr-20 18:49:23

Thank you so much! Looking at SEN CPD courses now.
Is there any such day as a "typical day" in a SEN school? Would I get the usual PPA/NQT time?
Apologies for all the qs , really appreciate the responses.

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lorisparkle Tue 28-Apr-20 19:05:25

We have had a number of NQTs at our special school although they have often been a TA in a special school or done an extra teaching place at our school when doing their PGCE. The key is having the enthusiasm to learn. Perhaps look at learning some sign language, finding out about 'Total Communication' and doing some reading about autism and reading about different learning disabilities. With the current lockdown there seem to be much more stuff being offered online.

NordSjoen Tue 28-Apr-20 19:07:29

Are you finishing your PGCE course at the end of this half term? Special schools are open as normal (pretty much) and may be able to take you on as a volunteer or even a paid LSA/TA from 1 June. My school just asked for additional help from the staff at weekends and those choosing to stay home with their own kids rather than send them to school have been asked to return as more students are coming back from SI.

It depends on the kind of class you have - high functioning autism will be more like mainstream with some feedback to kids on their work but it is nothing like mainstream from a planning perspective (you plan for each child as a rule) or recording observations which takes ages even if you have 2 or 3 TAs. If you have a PMLD class you will need manual handling as kids will be in chairs and need moving around using hoists - oh and meds / peg fees training. I would really suggest spending some time as a volunteer if you have not had a burning love for SEN teaching (I did a PGCE placement in SEN as it was always what I wanted) as it is so totally different to mainstream and the behaviour side of things for some people is off putting and for others it’s the medical / personal care stuff.

lorisparkle Tue 28-Apr-20 19:08:03

Our NQTs have all had a day out of class and a lot of support from the deputy head and their head of department.

Within our school there is a massive difference between the different classes. So no typical day.

reefedsail Tue 28-Apr-20 19:08:48

Go for it- high chances you won't look back. F**k knows why anyone works in mainstream! grin

lorisparkle Tue 28-Apr-20 19:09:56

That is so true - my one and only year in mainstream was the worse year of my teaching career!! I love being in a special school but it is so different!

NordSjoen Tue 28-Apr-20 19:10:04

And yes you get your usual NQT PPA uplift. But be prepared for things to happen that mean you miss it - I must have lost a good quarter of my PPA in NQT as ongoing behaviour incidents meant I couldn’t just leave my class.

Featurewall Tue 28-Apr-20 20:13:47

Thank you for all of this, so helpful. I'm going to try and see if I can ring the school tomorrow to speak to someone, looks as if there are a few positions they are recruiting for. In the meantime I'm making a list of things to look into. Would you say the workload is comparable / more than mainstream? I have 2 DC and whilst we cant afford for me to go PT at the moment my placement schools have differed wildly in this. Two were happy for me to leave around 4.30/5 a few times a week & carry on at home. Another one I felt guilty sneaking off before 6.

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NordSjoen Tue 28-Apr-20 20:42:16

Depends on a lot of things but I would say more planning and writing up paperwork, finding resources, makes you more tired, much less you can just rehash from previous years and much more original planning rather than using schemes of work etc from others / online resources. Need to be very imaginative and lateral thinking to develop the kids. More meetings. Unless they are young single women or married men with SAHM wives, all the teachers at my large school are PT (i.e. all the mums). You do take a lot home in terms of thinking about the kids if they have worrisome home lives or if - god forbid - they go into hospital or are really poorly at home for a long time. But I think that we are a very tight team, nobody is there swinging the lead or moaning about data (much!). It’s a complicated and nuanced system of assessment and you’re usually managing a team of 3+ TAs as many of them will be PT as well. Nowhere near as much marking, though.

Featurewall Tue 28-Apr-20 21:01:50

Nord you've been so helpful thank you flowers I have also heard that special schools are generally much more supportive places to work than mainstream.

In answer to your previous question I'm currently finishing my PGCE whilst working as a TA in mainstream, so I will be needed there (inthink!) When schools return. I'm PT at the moment so definitely would be able to go in on days off.

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lorisparkle Tue 28-Apr-20 21:05:50

I would say my class is physically and emotionally more demanding than in mainstream but the planning and marking is wildly different so hard to compare.

I have worked in schools where there is an unspoken expectation of early starts and late finishes but my current school is incredibly flexible and tries to be family friendly within the constraints of any school (for example I struggled to get childcare on a Tuesday morning so the head gave me PPA on that morning so I could be late in). In many respects special schools are like mainstream where there is huge variation in their family friendliness.

PeanutbutterJamSandwich Tue 28-Apr-20 21:09:23

Hi, I’m currently an NQT at an SEMH school. I’d never worked in this type of setting before but I’ve taken to it like a duck to water. I have been given so much training, which is constant for me and all staff. Lots of support to but you are thrown in to the deep end, particularly in my case with behaviour management. My kids are adhd/asd/ ebd so actually teaching them can be tough, but it’s fun! In an odd way

Sewingbea Tue 28-Apr-20 21:57:04

Lots of really good advice on the thread above. Two of the three special school heads I have worked for have preferred early years trained teachers if they are coming from a mainstream background as early years teachers may have transferable skills. Good luck OP, special schools are great and I love the kids but the workload is heavy. 50 -55 hours a week most weeks a and work in the holidays.

Featurewall Wed 29-Apr-20 07:51:11

I've got some EY experience ! Was up until silly o clock last night trying to read up on things. Feel quite excited. Thank you so much for all the really fab advice.

peanutbutter that sounds fab re all the training.

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NeurotrashWarrior Wed 29-Apr-20 10:23:17

What parrot said!

We've had a number of nqts and they usually stay with us. Being keen is definitely the most important quality!

The only challenge can be that sometimes it can be helpful to have had some mainstream experience; at the same time most of the things I did in mainstream had to be unlearned and turned on its head to work in sen.

You never stop learning in sen. I've been in an sen school for over 15 years and I'm still learning. The camaraderie and support with challenging behaviour etc is usually excellent.

NeurotrashWarrior Wed 29-Apr-20 10:28:26

Finding out about some strategies that work well for autism is a good start as many work well with other pupils in sen.

Use of timetables, visuals, PECS, low stimulation environments. Five point scale TEACCH.

Positive behaviour approaches. Sensory diets. Task reward task reward approaches.

Being very keen to learn is really good. There's no real average day other than no learning can happen if children are emotionally dysregulated. Classrooms and routines are set up with that main aim in mind.

NeurotrashWarrior Wed 29-Apr-20 10:30:01

You could try working as a ta in an sen school before doing nqt? Can't remember how long you have to do it in though.

Featurewall Wed 29-Apr-20 13:16:16

Neurotrash I will look into all of these. Going to.see if I can speak with the school at some point before applying as well. I'm working as a TA at the moment (,or was pre covid) and I really need a teaching salary otherwise that would be ideal.

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NeurotrashWarrior Wed 29-Apr-20 14:22:41

If you have your own children that will be helpful as you will be able to understand some of the behaviour and needs in terms of how preschoolers/ toddlers are.

One thing about sen teaching is the lessons often don't go to plan till later in the year. Setting up familiar routines is more important for the pupils early on. So much of the learning at first is actually learning to follow the routine and working on a task independently.

Children who've come in from mainstream have often had a 1:1 and have no confidence working by themselves. You often need to go back a lot of stages to get confidence up. Fostering independence can often be a big need, anything from toileting to teaching them to ask for help when they're frustrated etc as well as where to find a pencil, getting an independent work book out and completing a task.

Obviously play and sensory experiences are v important; some pupils need to learn how to play and interact.

Featurewall Wed 29-Apr-20 14:35:59

NeuroTrash this is so useful. Thank you.
I'm currently using toddler nap time to do a bit of research . My SEN knowledge is woefully inadequate!

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