Special educational needs (SEN) teacher

Special educational needs (SEN) teachers work with children and young people who need extra support.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £46,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need to be a qualified teacher with mainstream experience.

You'll also need to have completed the mandatory qualification for SEN teachers in the past 3 years.

Most independent schools prefer qualified teachers, but it's not essential.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • planning and organisational skills
  • to be creative
  • the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour

3. What you'll do

You'll work with children who have:

  • mild to moderate learning difficulties
  • learning difficulties such as dyslexia
  • physical disabilities
  • hearing or visual impairment
  • challenging emotions or behaviour

You could work in a mixed class, a special class in a mainstream school, a special needs school or further education college. You may teach individual pupils or small groups, often supported by a teaching assistant.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • teaching national curriculum subjects
  • helping pupils develop self-confidence, independence and abilities
  • preparing lessons and teaching materials
  • marking and assessing work
  • working with medical staff, therapists and psychologists
  • talking to parents and carers about a child's progress
  • attending meetings and training workshops
  • organising outings, social activities and sporting events

4. Salary

Starter: £22,200 to £27,800

Experienced: £32,800 to £37,800

Highly Experienced: £35,200 to £46,300

These figures are a guide.

Your salary will depend on where you're based, class size, and your responsibilities.

The Department for Education has more information on salaries.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually start work between 8.30am to 9.15am and finish between 3.15pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

You'll spend extra time planning lessons, marking work and taking part in school activities.

6. Career path and progression

Most opportunities for SEN teaching are in mainstream schools, where you could become an SEN co-ordinator or head of department. At a special needs school you could become deputy head or headteacher.

There are also opportunities in pupil referral units, hospital schools or youth custody centres.

Last updated: 11 October 2016