What is an SEN Teacher?

Article updated 10/09/2023

Building Relationships with Students: A SEN Teacher's Role

SEN Teachers are worth their weight in gold! They don't just teach students with special needs; they provide the students with a sense of connection and belonging that can be hard to find elsewhere.  They have superpowers which engage children and young people in their learning and provide skills for life. This article will provide information on becoming a SEN Teacher and what it takes to have a successful career in SEND teaching.

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What is an SEN Teacher?

A SEN Teacher works with students who have special educational needs and disabilities including autism, emotional and behavioural disorders, learning disabilities or difficulties. The SEN Teacher works in the classroom to help children and young people learn appropriate social skills and assists them with their academic work. In addition, they must create individualised lesson plans for each student based on their abilities.

Children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) may be in mainstream schools or special education needs (SEN) schools, often called 'special' schools. SEN Teachers work alongside other professionals to provide support for these students and their families.

How to become an SEN Teacher?

There are various ways to become a qualified teacher.

There are many routes into teaching, and you should find the best option to suit you. It takes a lot of commitment on your part to become a qualified teacher. Some teachers have qualifications specific to the field they teach, which is particularly useful if it's maths or science. There are often additional modules that need completing alongside your degree to become focused on SEND.  Often, teachers obtain a teaching qualification and then specialise later.

The Get Into Teaching  site provides information about all the different entry routes available to aspiring teachers.

Once qualified, you can then specialise in a particular field, for example SEND, and gaining experience in this area will be essential to developing your knowledge and skills.

What does it take to become an SEN Teacher?

Some of the key characteristics required to be a successful teacher include resilience, strong organisation skills, and empathy. Below is a list of other attributes considered important:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design a bespoke curriculum for each learner
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • knowledge of the English language
  • be flexible and open to change
  • be able to understand people's reactions
  • computer literacy

This list is not exhaustive and other attributes are detailed here.

Looking for SEN Jobs? Click here to search our current roles

Can I become an SEN Teacher as a recent graduate?

Yes, you can! It's never too early to start thinking about your career. Many SEN teachers start their careers as teaching assistants. You will gain valuable experience and training which is essential if you are to become an SEN teacher. Many education provisions will support you through your studies and qualifications if they can see your potential to have a long-term career in their setting.

Seek out a mentor who you can learn from and who will offer you guidance and support when necessary.

SEN Teachers can expect a starting salary of between £23,000-£27,000 per annum, depending on stage of education or training level achieved (degree vs diploma).

What qualifications do you need to become an SEN Teacher?

You'll usually need:

  1. 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.
  2. GCSE science at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) for primary school teaching.
  3. 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree.
  4. A degree in any subject for a postgraduate course.

Through School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, School Direct or Teach First. These are all different school-based qualifications which allow you to gain experience in a school while working towards QTS.

As well as having QTS you can work towards a SEN qualification if working with children who require additional support.

More information can be found here.

Applying for SEN Teaching jobs

Applying for SEN Teaching jobs is the same as applying for any other teaching job, but there are a few things to consider. It will be beneficial if you have experience working with SEN students or children who have disabilities or learning difficulties. You should also consider your location when applying - do you want to commute every day? How far is too far away from home? This is something you should consider before applying.

You should also ensure that you are willing to commit yourself fully to teaching and be open to adapting your teaching style depending on the student's needs.

A short guide on applying for SEN jobs

  • Find out if there are any suitable positions in your area by visiting local school websites or social media pages. If they are not advertising currently, then it's worth contacting them to see if you can do some work experience.
  • You can take the stress out of searching for teaching positions by applying for SEN teaching jobs online via job boards such as Senploy. This is a one-stop-shop for job openings in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
  • Some schools and education recruitment agencies also advertise their positions on social media pages such as Facebook.
  • It's worth having your CV reviewed by an experienced SEN teacher or education recruitment agency. They can tell you what they think and whether it will be suitable for the teaching positions that are currently available
  • All educators in the UK require an Enhanced DBS certificate in order to practice.


It takes a great deal of patience and skill to be an SEN Teacher. If you're interested in this profession, contact us today for more information on how you can become one! We hope that our blog post has helped introduce the world of SEN Teaching to you.

What are your thoughts on what we've discussed?

Let us know below or by emailing [email protected] with any questions about becoming an SEN Teacher.

Looking for SEN Jobs? Click here to search our current roles


Updated: Feb 2024


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