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Mainstream to SEN
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wineandsunshine · 02/10/2021 07:53

Hello - I'm looking for any advice from teachers who have made the leap from mainstream to SEN.

I am considering applying to a provision school that I looked around yesterday. It had a great feel about it and the staff were all friendly. But I would like a realistic opinion about day-to-day teaching within a SEN school if possible.

They have MLD and SLD classes (max 12) with a few medical children and most classes have two support staff.

Has anyone ever changed? Could I work back in mainstream if I don't enjoy it?

Thank you!

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Philandbill · 02/10/2021 08:13

I made the leap a long time ago after ten years in mainstream. If you love it you'll stay in special ed, if it's not for you you'll leave within a year or at the one year point. I love it, it's never boring and is always challenging. Some mainstream teachers think it is an easy option as the classes are so small and you have TA support. In reality it's not an easy option.

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wineandsunshine · 02/10/2021 16:50

Thanks @Philandbill for replying. In terms of teaching core subjects did you find the pace a lot slower?

I'm just trying trying to gage the planning/assessment compared to what I'm normally doing.

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Bakingwithmyboys · 04/10/2021 21:08

I have this question myself. Actually went as far as interviewing at a SEN school near the start of lockdown. Not getting it made me realise I wanted to know more before I made the jump.

Our local SEN school are happy to have volunteers. I'm organising to go in for a morning for a few weeks just to try and get a feel of what it's really like. I have the luxury of being part time though. My head is in support of this and would have helped if I wasn't part time.

Is that an option for you?

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wineandsunshine · 06/10/2021 18:41

I'm not sure my current school would let me volunteer as I'm full time.

I have applied for the position anyway and will see what happens 😄

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MsWalterMitty · 06/10/2021 19:28

I work in an SEMH SEN school, it’s tough due to behaviour and ability. It can be very frustrating too. Esp when you plan lessons that just get shat on…. This happens a lot! But that’s the SEMH side of it.
I teach 2 GCSE ASD classes and they are defo my fave to teach! We always go off on tangents and have a lot more flexibilty than mainstream. Our pace is much slower but that’s because they sit less GCSEs and have more time to learn the content.

I love working where I work as I have real close relationships with all of the kids! We chat, play games, learn and laugh every day! But on the flip side I was involved in 2 physical interventions today and was spat at a couple of days ago. I am called a cunt or a bitch, or told to fuck off at least once a day! My biggest class is 6 students.
But I still love it!!

I was an NQT when I started so have very little experience of mainstream, I’m in my 3rd year now and feel that l’ll have to make the leap to mainstream soon for the experience/employability. But I’d defo go back to SEN again

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Philandbill · 07/10/2021 19:54

It is just as busy as mainstream and you need to have eyes in the back of your head, you can't relax for a second when with the children. Think of the six most challenging nursery or reception children that you have ever taught. Now think of the next six most challenging children. That's an SLD class cohort. And you need a strong stomach for bodily secretions. This week I have mopped up wee, cleaned up a child with a soiled pad, been sneezed and coughed on, dribbled on and wiped candles of green snot from a child's nose after a huge sneeze. I love it, but it is very full on. But again, never boring.
We had a very experienced mainstream teacher join us this term and she is finding it a very steep learning curve. She's doing well, loves it and will be great, but she is finding it a challenge.

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Happyharry2003 · 08/10/2021 17:53

Moving from mainstream to sen was the best decision I ever made

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wineandsunshine · 08/10/2021 18:20

Thank you everyone. I have an interview next Tuesday which involves planning for a variety of disabilities.

I am going to work on this over the weekend!

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watingroom2 · 08/10/2021 23:08

My advice is to think interactive (or as interactive as you can with covid risks in mind)

Good luck

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Philandbill · 09/10/2021 06:51

Good luck OP. I hope it goes well.

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13luckyblackcats · 09/10/2021 08:37

Symbols and visuals. And a couple of Makaton signs if you can. I am an ECT in SEN and no matter how many symbols and visuals I think I have got into my lessons, I always need more! Good luck.

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wineandsunshine · 09/10/2021 19:04

Thank you! I will update you after!

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Ytrigging · 09/10/2021 20:49

I started in a SEN school in September and I am going back to mainstream in January. There are 7 pupils in my class and 8 teaching assistants. The dynamic of the room is very weird because there are so many adults. The children in my class can't speak or understand very much speech, so possibly this would be different if your class had less complex needs, but I don't feel like a teacher. The hardest thing I've found so far is that in mainstream I automatically wait until every child is paying attention before I start speaking. In a special school you can't do that so you have to keep teaching even if one (or more) of your pupils is screaming and only one of them is sat on the carpet. Retraining that instinct was hard.

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Whatstheweatherlike · 11/10/2021 16:53

Good luck with the interview tomorrow wineandsunshine! 🤞

It's interesting hearing about the different views on moving from mainstream to SEN. This is something I'd like to do (primary) but am not sure about the opportunities for progression in SEN. I don't know whether to stay in mainstream and go down the SENDCO route or if there are similar opportunities to progress in special schools. Does it take longer to work up to slt in special schools?

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wineandsunshine · 12/10/2021 20:20

Just to update - I wasn't successful today. SLT called me to say a more experienced SEN teacher had got the role.

I actually found planning the lesson very tricky so that probably let me down!

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Scarby9 · 12/10/2021 21:38

My next door neighbour went from mainstream KS2 to special school - 5 pupils in her class with 2 TAs.
When I saw her after her first day, she said, 'Well, the good news is that the work I planned for the first week will last at least the term'.
It took her about half a term to adjust, but she never went back to mainstream. She loved it.

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13luckyblackcats · 13/10/2021 07:28

Well done for getting the interview and doing it @wineandsunshine! Did you teach the lesson or just discuss the plan?

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