Training to teach pupils with SEND

Everyone on a teacher training course leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) will receive training on how to ensure that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) can progress within the curriculum. 

Specialising in SEND

If you know you want to specialise in supporting pupils with SEND, either within a mainstream school, special school or in alternative provision, you may want to undertake a teacher training course with an emphasis on SEND. These courses offer the same training and skills as mainstream teacher training courses, but focus on ensuring that trainees have the opportunity to develop further skills for working with pupils with SEND. This could include specific modules on SEND and more opportunities to work in special schools, SEND units and/or resourced provision. You can find courses with an emphasis on SEND via the Department for Education’s search tool for England: Find Postgraduate Teacher Training, by selecting ‘Show only courses with a SEND specialism’.

Whether you have undertaken an ITT course with SEN specialism or not, you can apply for your first job in a mainstream school, special school or in alternative provision. Some teachers choose to move to a special school or alternative provision once they’ve had some teaching experience and had the opportunity to gain some experience teaching pupils with SEND.

If you want to teach pupils with sensory impairments, there’s a mandatory qualification to upskill you for this specialist role.

You may also want to consider becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). SENCOs are a key part of the school workforce and play a fundamental role in supporting children and young people with SEND. To be a SENCO, you'll need to be a qualified teacher and complete the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCO) within three years of taking up a SENCO post.

By teaching pupils with SEND, not only will you be vital to the education system, you’ll also be financially rewarded with a starting salary of at least £23,720, or £29,664 in inner London, and you could be eligible for an allowance of £2,149 to £4,242 per annum as a teacher supporting SEND pupils.

Related content 

Read Liz’s story on the rewards of SEND teaching.