Working with SEN pupils:

There are many things a teacher can do to ensure SEN pupils are offered all the support that they need during their time at school. Each SEN student will respond differently to different provisions, but there is a baseline when it comes to supporting any SEN student that you may have in your class.

Inform yourself

At the start of the academic year in secondary schools, teachers receive SEN reports from the SEN department, containing all of the information about SEN pupils that they will be teaching. This list includes all of their learning difficulties, so that the teachers are aware of individual needs.

Familiarise yourself with the information provided by the previous teacher. This will include the pupil’s previous assessments, target grade, current grade, learning habits, and comments from the previous TA. All of this information can help tailor teaching to match each pupil’s needs, which is important to take into consideration when forming lesson plans.

Communication is key

It is a good idea to book an appointment with the SENCO or the SEN coordinator so that you can ask for more details or clarifications. This ensures that you have a clear picture of each pupils’ needs. According to their needs, TAs may be allocated to help a pupil in the classroom, and they will usually work one-on-one in order to give them individual attention. Sometimes students may take part in a smaller learning group, where extra support is provided by the TA.

When a TA is working with a pupil in the lesson, discuss the learning objectives with them and the targets set for the student. Likewise, outline and review each task assigned. Afterwards, review their work and important takeaways from the lesson

There are also a few things that a teacher can do within the classroom, to make things easier for SEN students:

  • Get pupils involved and working with their peers by pairing students with different needs together.
  • Wear a microphone, so that a pupil with a hearing impairment can hear more clearly.
  • For a pupil with dyslexia, make sure to keep your powerpoint slides clear and simple. Use dark blue text on a cream or pastel background, as this suits many students with dyslexia.
  • For an autistic pupil, make sure your explanations are simple, clear and concise. Follow a consistent routine for your lessons: a starter, new learning, practising, then consolidate with a plenary.
  • Autistic pupils also benefit from the use of visual supports, which helps them better understand a concept or grammar points.

It is very important to communicate with parents and/or caregivers about the pupil’s progress or challenges. Studies show that when parents and teachers work together to support the learning, social, and emotional needs of pupils, their progress in school increases dramatically. The parents’ insight is particularly valuable, as they know the individual needs of the child the best.

These techniques can provide the support that many children need in the classroom. It is important to remember that individual needs are different for each pupil and certain methods may not work for everybody.