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Special Educational Needs Teacher Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Special Educational Needs Teacher. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Special Educational Needs Teacher
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Special Educational Needs Teacher Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Special educational needs teachers work with children and young people who have a learning difficulty. This could include teaching children with mild to moderate learning difficulties; specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia; pupils with a physical disability, hearing or visual impairment; or children with emotional or behavioural problems. It is possible to work with such pupils in an ordinary class, in a special class in a mainstream school, or in a special school.

Teachers help pupils to develop their self-confidence, independence, abilities and attitudes. They also teach the National Curriculum, which may have been adapted to their pupils needs.

Teaching children and young people with mild to moderate learning difficulties involves providing extra help in the areas where they need support. Working with pupils who are hearing impaired involves developing their speech, sign language and communication skills. Visually impaired pupils are helped to use what vision they may have, and to make the best use of their other senses. Some pupils have severe disabilities, and it may be necessary to design a programme to help them become as independent as possible.

Tasks other than classroom teaching include:

  • preparing lessons and marking pupils work
  • assessing pupils work and preparing them for exams
  • giving advice and guidance to pupils talking to parents and carers about the pupils
  • liaising with other professionals, such as educational psychologists
  • supervising learning support assistants
  • arranging and attending reviews of pupils’ progress
  • organising extra activities, such as sports and social events
  • attending meetings.

Hours and Environment

Teachers in state schools in England and Wales work 39 weeks a year in school. Hours vary between schools but are usually 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. It is necessary to work outside school hours to prepare lessons, mark work and exams, and go to meetings.

In Scotland there is a standard 35-hour week and teachers work for 195 days a year. The amount of class contact time is gradually being cut until it reaches a maximum of 22.5 hours a week.

Teachers spend most of their time indoors in classrooms, but also work in halls, gyms, laboratories or music rooms. Some of their time is spent outdoors, when supervising sports and games.

Skills and Interests

To be a special educational needs teacher you should:

  • be committed to working with pupils with special educational needs
  • have an interest in the education and welfare of pupils
  • be able to build up good relationships with a range of people - pupils, parents and carers, other teachers, teaching assistants, educational psychologists and social workers
  • get on well with pupils of different backgrounds and different levels of ability
  • enjoy working in a team but be able to use your own initiative
  • be well organised
  • have the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour
  • be able to communicate well in the most appropriate way for your pupils
  • be patient and have a good sense of humour.


If you want to work as a special educational needs teacher in a state school you must first be a qualified teacher, normally with at least two years'' mainstream teaching experience. You would then undertake additional training to teach pupils with special educational needs - see the Training section. To work in independent schools it is not essential to be a qualified teacher, but they usually prefer it.

England and Wales
For full details of entry requirements and routes to becoming a qualified teacher, see

Teacher: Nursery/Primary School (England/Wales/NI)
Teacher: Secondary School (England/Wales/NI).

For full details of entry requirements and routes to becoming a qualified teacher, see

Teacher: Nursery/Primary School (Scotland)
Teacher: Secondary School (Scotland)

There is no upper age limit for entry to teaching and mature applicants are encouraged.


Once you are a qualified and experienced teacher you can take further training for special educational needs, either before you begin this type of work or while you are teaching.

Most special educational needs teachers in mainstream schools undertake periods of in-service training arranged by their local education authority.

Some universities also offer relevant postgraduate certificates, diplomas or Masters degrees. Course content and titles will vary according to the type of special education or disability being covered. Such courses are usually offered part-time or by distance learning

You will need specific qualifications for teaching pupils with hearing impairment, visual impairment or multi-sensory impairment. You must get one of these qualifications within three years of starting working with these students. Currently eight universities in the UK offer relevant DfES-approved postgraduate diplomas or Masters degrees. Courses can be one year-full time or two or three years part-time, and modular or distance learning options are available.

You must also gain basic sign language skills to at least CACDP Stage 1 or equivalent if you want to qualify to teach hearing impaired pupils. To become a Qualified Teacher of Visual Impairment you must be able to prove you are proficient in Braille.


Most special educational needs teachers work in mainstream schools. However, over 22,000 teachers work in state special schools in England, Scotland and Wales. Some special schools are for pupils with a specific disability, while others are organised according to the severity of learning difficulty. Local authorities run most special schools, while others are run by organisations such as Barnardos and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

There is a shortage of special educational needs teachers. There are vacancies throughout the UK, particularly in London, eastern England and south-east England.

Progression is possible to become an advanced skills teacher. In a mainstream school there are chances to obtain promotion to special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or head of the special needs department. Teachers in special schools may be promoted to deputy headteacher or headteacher.

There are also opportunities to work in a pupil referral unit (PRU), a community home, a hospital school or a youth custody centre. A number of areas of work related to teaching are also available, such as: teacher training; educational advisory work; education administration; schools inspection; and private tuition.

Annual Income

The annual income section as a guideline only.

Teachers working in state schools earn at least £18,105 (or £17,226 in Scotland).
Experienced teachers in state schools can earn up to £33,150 depending on performance (up to £36,327 a year as a principal teacher in Scotland).
Advanced Skills Teachers earn up to £47,469.
Headteachers earn between £35,544 and £88,155 a year, depending on the size of the school (up to £64,854 in Scotland).

Special educational needs teachers in England or Wales can earn an extra £3,219 a year.

All teachers working in the Inner London area are paid an extra allowance of between £3,400 and £5,900 a year.

Further information

Teacher Training Agency
Portland House
Stag Place
Teaching Information Line: 0845 6000 991 (English-speakers)
0845 600 992 (Welsh-speakers)

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI)
Rathgael House
43 Balloo Road
Co Down
BT19 7PR
Tel: 028 9127 9279

General Teaching Council for Scotland
Clerwood House
96 Clermiston Road
EH12 6UT
Tel: 0131 314 6000

British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
21 The Haystacks
High Wycombe
HP13 6PY
Tel: 01494 464190

Other Useful Special Educational Needs Teacher Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Special Educational Needs Teacher job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Special Educational Needs Teacher Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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