5 teaching strategies for SEN pupils


5 teaching strategies for SEN pupils

Providing quality support for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) is a key requirement for teachers in classrooms across the country.

More than 1.25 million pupils in England require support for SEN – equating to an average of four pupils per class in mainstream settings. Official government data shows that the numbers are growing year-on-year too (up 12.2% from 2021-2022), placing a greater emphasis on effective teaching strategies for SEN pupils.

It’s important to recognise that general good teaching practices can benefit pupils with SEN too. Therefore, the use of any additional education strategies should not be at the expense of doing the basics properly. Greater detail around what classes as SEN support for children of different ages is available on the official government website. The Education Endowment Foundation also has in-depth guidance on how to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Here we look at five teaching strategies for SEN pupils which can help pupils to succeed, while enabling you to teach more confidently and effectively.

1. Be supporting to all

At the forefront of any teaching strategy for SEN pupils is the school environment. Any classroom setting should be welcoming and inclusive for all pupils. Not only should they feel supported, but they also need to trust that you’ll take action to quell poor behaviour.

Helpful hint: Look to promote positivity from the start of a lesson to the end and create opportunities for pupils to be engaged and to discuss key topics.

2. Positive reinforcement

Small actions can mean a lot to pupils – whether that is smiling at those who are clearly paying attention, or providing positive comments in work books. Effective praise helps to encourage positive behaviour among pupils, and helps to foster a general feeling of positivity in the classroom. It can also be highly useful when it comes to teaching pupils with SEN about what does and does not constitute good behaviour.

Helpful hint: encourage your pupils to give positive reinforcement to their peers at every opportunity.

3. Constantly work to understand pupil needs

Every pupil with SEN will have different requirements and teaching staff should work to continuously review those needs throughout the school year. Through regular assessment, this strategy for SEN pupils allows teachers to deliver tailored interventions at times when they can have the greatest impact. Talk to pupils to get their thoughts, and chat with their parents regularly too, as it all helps to build a picture of their progress and understanding.

Helpful hint: remember that the support requirements of every pupil will differ, so an approach that works for one individual may not work for another.

4. Work closely with your teaching assistants

If you have teaching assistants in your classroom, they can be a great resource for supporting pupils with SEN. It’s highly likely that they’ll work closely with pupils and they will be best placed to give you information and guidance on a pupil’s progress. Look to include teaching assistants in your lesson planning and provide them with the tools to supplement your teaching. The Education Endowment Foundation has detailed guidance on how to best use teaching assistants in your classroom.

Helpful hint: have regular catch-ups with the teaching assistants in your classroom to gather feedback on behaviour, learning and pupil development.

5. Make carefully crafted interventions

All of the teaching strategies for SEN pupils look to build on good quality teaching practices, but in certain instances you may need to go beyond that. In order to help pupils who might be struggling, tailored interventions may be required to support their progress. However, if these are not done in the right way they can be detriment to the learning of pupils with SEN as they may feel left out or excluded from you teaching.

Helpful hint: think carefully about the use of interventions and make them based on specific needs that you are able to identify.

Begin the search for your next SEN teaching role

Now that you know the skills that you need to succeed, it's time to put your career in gear. Check out the latest SEN teaching jobs and you'll find vacancies across the UK. Our process is streamlined, so you could have your applications submitted in just a few clicks.

Alternatively, contact our team and we'll be in touch to discuss how we can support your education career. Our recruitment consultants take great pride in being one of the leading education recruitment agencies in the UK. We work hard to deliver the highest quality candidate care and match you with a teaching job that is perfect for you.