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Why work in SEND?

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Are you thinking about studying for a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) qualification? At the University of Sunderland, we offer a range of SEND courses appealing to both aspiring and practising SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators). Here, we explore all the reasons why considering working in SEND could be great for your career.

A female teacher is sitting in a classroom, helping two primary school children with their work

What does SEND mean?

SEND is the system that supports children who may have additional needs when it comes to their education, such as a learning difficulty and/or a disability. These children find it harder to learn compared to other pupils of their age and so require unique educational provision to ensure they have the same opportunities as everybody else.

What does a SENCO do?

The role of a Special Educational Needs Coordinator places you right at the heart of the school leadership team to ensure legal and regulatory compliance and to safeguard commitment to children’s rights and needs. SENCOs coordinate the additional support that is required by pupils and liaise with the parents and teachers involved with them. They have a critical role to play in that they must oversee the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy.

“I have found every current and aspiring SENCO at the University to be wholeheartedly empathetic, committed and extremely hardworking. We are now in our ninth year of the NASENCO Postgraduate Certificate and the course just keeps getting better. This is testament to the dedication of the team and the passion for learning from the SENCO community.”

Sarah Martin-Denham
Programme Leader in PgCert NASENCO


Four great reasons to work in SEND

1. It's rewarding

One of the most appealing benefits of training for a SEND qualification is that you’ll have a vital role in helping children overcome any barriers they may be experiencing during their education and making a positive impact on their lives. Supporting pupils to build their confidence and seeing them succeed in even the smallest of achievements is incredibly rewarding, perhaps offering even more job satisfaction than a regular teaching role. You’ll be preparing them not only for secondary school and further education, but for life beyond the education system, meaning you’ll play a huge part in shaping their futures.

2. You'll be in high demand

Now more than ever, there is a high demand in the education sector for qualified teachers in England and SENCOs are particularly coveted due to the rise in pupils in need of special education. According to National Statistics, the percentage of pupils with SEN support increased to 12.2% in 2021.

The skills you’ll learn when completing your SEND training will significantly enhance your employability. Teaching is always a challenge, but special education requires more than excellent organisation and communication. The additional knowledge you’ll gain from studying for a SEND qualification will be extremely valuable, as you’ll need to be able to adapt to a variety of different situations and have strong behaviour management skills.

3. Training is ongoing

Another great reason to consider a career in SEND is that you’re continuously building on your knowledge of the field. From the moment you join one of our SEND courses until you’re established within your first role and beyond, there’s plenty of on-the-job training to take advantage of.

Physical and learning disabilities cover a broad spectrum, so every child will have different needs and your skills will be constantly evolving. You may even decide that you want to specialise in a certain area of SEN, given that there are so many factors that result in children requiring this kind of education.

4. You can be creative

Although challenging, working in SEND can also be fun as it allows you the opportunity to be creative with how you deliver your teaching. There’s an element of freedom that you won’t get with a regular teaching role, as special education is all about the individual child and one size won’t fit all. You’ll be able to use your creativity to try new things, inspire and engage pupils and ultimately help them to succeed academically.

Primary school children taking part in an activity

What are the benefits of studying the NASENCO at the University of Sunderland?

The benefits of studying for the National Award for SENCO at Sunderland are continuously growing and feedback from our students and graduates is extremely positive:

“I found the inspirational leadership and personal support of the course leaders to be force multipliers in my professional life as a SENCO. When joining the course, you’re joining an ever-increasing community of professionals who maintain contact beyond graduation to keep forging ahead in making a difference to young people’s lives.” John, SENCO and Headteacher

“The course was highly informative and supportive, providing up to date information, the opportunity to reflect on current practice and access to a wide range of suggested reading materials to develop my understanding of SEND and the role of a SENCO. The face-to-face aspects provided me with invaluable learning opportunities and open discussions on some complex topics.” Claire, SENCO

“I would wholeheartedly recommend the course to anyone wishing to develop their knowledge and understanding of SEND. It has been by far the most valuable, interesting and rewarding CPD I have completed in my career. The course leaders were phenomenally supportive and the skills I developed have helped hone my leadership techniques.” Dominick, SENCO and Deputy Headteacher

Have we proven to you that studying for a SEND qualification is an excellent career route? Find out more about our Teacher Training and Education courses.

Published: 28 March 2022