The world of education is always changing, advancing and improving in order to be inclusive of all students to give all children an equal right and chance to high quality education.
Special Education caters to those who may have different needs to children in mainstream schools. If you think this could be a good career for you in aiding those who need a little more help, why not consider it?
What is special education?
Special education refers to the education of children with disabilities. For example, mild to moderate learning disabilities, specific learning difficulties eg. dyslexia, emotional and difficulties with behaviour, physical disabilities, hearing or visually impaired children.
Special education helps to meet the needs of children whose needs may not be met by mainstream education. This means learning can be made easier for children with disabilities.
What do special education needs teachers do?
The day to day duties of a special education needs teacher may differ from day to day. Examples of duties carried out include:
- Teach subjects from curriculum
- Prepare lessons and learning materials
- Aid students in increasing confidence, independence and enhance their abilities
- Work with professional such as medical staff, speech and language therapists
- Delegate work and mark it
- Track children’s progression
- Update parents on their children’s progress
- Organise outings, social activities and events for children
- Attend workshops, parent-teacher meetings, professional meetings
There are a few courses in special education courses to choose from across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study part time and full time and under current Covid-19 restrictions, some universities may have their own plans. It is important to research a specific course in full. Examples of courses on offer are:
Primary with Special Education Needs (PgCert)
A course like this is one of the multiple postgraduate certificate courses available. While it is not a degree, it is still an enhancement on your bachelors degree and will aid you in working with children with disabilities. You will develop a better understanding of children’s disabilities and how to meet the needs of those with these disabilities. You will qualify to teach children ages 5-11. Work experience is also part of this course in both mainstream schools with added resources and in special schools.
Speech, Language and Communication Needs in Schools (Advanced Practice)
Postgraduate courses like a course in speech, language and communication needs bring together many professionals such as teachers and speech and language therapists. These courses focus on the speech, language and communication needs of children and those who take this course will develop their knowledge and analytical skills as well as having the opportunity to share their own experience and perspectives.
Inclusion and Special Education Needs
In the ever changing world of education, the inclusion of those with specific needs is very important as is the continuous development of resources to meet children’s needs in school. A course such as this gives it’s students the opportunity to study and apply an approach to wellbeing. They look at the fundamental questions about teaching and learning in order to accommodate and respect difference learning needs.
Special Education Needs
Special education needs postgraduate courses allow it’s students to gain the knowledge to inform and develop effective practice. You will gain an understanding of inclusion and be equipped with the skills to analyse theories and research evidence. Group work and face-to-face seminars as well as individual work are used in looking at a variety of frameworks to look at key issues within the area.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course and university to university. A good bachelors degree is required. Many courses will require a 2.1 degree while there are some where a 2.2 degree will suffice. Specific course requirements can be found on course outlines and on university websites. It is important to look into your preferred course in order to make sure you meet the requirements.
The average salary of a special education needs teacher starts around £23,720 and can increase to around £35,008 with experience. Special education needs assistants can earn an average of £19,171, or £9.83 an hour. All figures are estimates.
Skills and requirements
Helpful skills for working within this field include:
- Strong communication
- Strong leadership skills
- Adaptable to different needs and disabilities
- Understanding and empathy
- Able to adapt to new teaching styles
- Critical thinking
- Organization skills
- Ability to work with others
- A passion to learn and teach
- Time management skills
- A people person/friendly manner