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Special educational needs (SEN) teacher

Alternative titles for this job include

Special educational needs (SEN) teachers work with children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities.

Average salary (a year)

£30,000 Starter


£46,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 45 term time

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Special educational needs (SEN) teacher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


Most teaching courses include options on teaching children with special educational needs.

Undergraduate degree

You can do an undergraduate degree that leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), for example:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

Postgraduate certificate

If you already have a bachelor's degree without qualified teacher status, you can complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). This is a common choice and can be done at university or through a training programme based in a school.

More teacher training options

There are more training options if you want to change career or specialise in teaching certain subjects.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


You can do a degree level teaching apprenticeship if you have a degree.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • GCSE science at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) for primary school teaching
  • a degree for a teaching apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a teaching assistant and do a part time degree. You could then move onto a postgraduate teaching course to qualify as a teacher.


You'll find it helpful to get some experience of working with young people with special educational needs or disabilities. 

You could volunteer at a school or work at a youth club or on a holiday scheme.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through Do IT

Direct Application

If you're a qualified teacher, you can get extra training to teach students with special educational needs. You can find a course through your local education authority. 

Many local education authorities offer courses for teachers who want to do this.

More Information


Career tips

You can attend a Get Into Teaching event before you apply to get advice about teaching, funding and the different training routes available. You can attend events in person and online.

You can find out more teaching students with special educational needs from National Association for Special Educational Needs and Get Into Teaching.

Professional and industry bodies

You could become a member of National Association for Special Educational Needs to help with professional development.

Further information

You can discover more about how to become a teacher from Get Into Teaching.

You can also search for jobs through the Teaching Vacancies service.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

You'll need further specialist qualifications to teach students with hearing impairment, vision impairment or multi-sensory impairment. 

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • plan and teach lessons, work with small groups and individual students
  • prepare teaching materials, take registers and write reports
  • help students develop confidence, independence and encourage them to learn
  • manage behaviour, mark work and talk to parents and carers about their children's progress
  • work with specialist teaching services, medical staff, counsellors and psychologists
  • organise trips, attend workshops and run training for other teaching staff on special educational needs issues

Working environment

You could work at a school, at a special needs school or at a pupil referral unit.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • become a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) and manage the special educational needs strategy at a school
  • move into management roles like head of department, key stage co-ordinator, deputy head or headteacher
  • use your specialist skills and knowledge and become a special needs assessment officer at a local council
  • become a higher education lecturer
  • move into teacher training, private training or tutoring

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Secondary Science Teacher

  • Wage: £20,598 a year Annually
  • Location: Castle Street, Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire

Courses In England

Access to HE - Teaching & Education

  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: BENFLEET

Access to Higher Education Diploma - Teaching and Education

  • Start date: 17 September 2024
  • Location: Milton Keynes

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