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Special educational needs teacher: Training

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There is a one-year statutory induction for all newly qualified teachers (NQTs), including those who start teaching in special educational needs (SEN) as their first position after qualifying.

Further postgraduate professional development is possible. Options include certificates as well as a diploma or Masters in special educational needs.

Course content and titles vary according to the type of special educational need or disability being covered. Full and part-time courses are offered. In-service training is also available. Many local authorities provide SEN courses for teachers working in the field.

There are additional mandatory requirements for SEN teachers who specialise in teaching pupils with visual, hearing or multi-sensory impairment.

These qualifications are available only from specific institutions approved by the Department for Education and can be completed full time or part time. Full details of the requirements and course providers can be obtained from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) .

The ability to use sign language is essential if you wish to work with hearing impaired pupils, as is Braille for teachers of pupils with visual impairments.

Courses are available for qualified teachers to teach pupils with other special educational needs. Some of these focus generally on special educational needs, while other courses are more specific, focusing on a particular learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or autism. These courses are generally part time, lasting several months.

All teachers in Scotland have a contractual commitment to undertake 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) per year. More information can be obtained from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) .

It may be possible to find work as a special needs teaching assistant first, and then progress to the position of special educational needs teacher.

Written by Gemma Halder, AGCAS
February 2015

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