Special educational needs (SEN) teacher

Special educational needs (SEN) teachers work with children and young people who need extra support.

Annual Salary

£24,500 to £70,750

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 4% more Special educational needs (SEN) teacher jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You'll work with children who have:

  • general learning difficulties
  • specific learning difficulties like dyslexia
  • physical disabilities
  • hearing or visual impairment
  • challenging emotions or behaviour

You could work in a mixed class, a special class in a mainstream school, a special needs school, a pupil referral unit or a further education college. You may teach whole classes, individual pupils or small groups, often supported by a teaching assistant.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • teaching national curriculum subjects
  • helping pupils develop self-confidence, independence and abilities
  • preparing lessons and teaching materials
  • marking and assessing work
  • working with medical staff, therapists and psychologists
  • talking to parents and carers about a child's progress
  • attending meetings, statutory reviews and training workshops
  • organising outings, social activities and sporting events

To become a special educational needs teacher, you'll need:

If you have a degree, you can train through a postgraduate teacher training course. There are 2 main routes: school-led and university-led. Both provide you with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed for teaching, but are delivered differently.

If you don't have a degree, you can qualify by taking a course that awards qualified teacher status (QTS).

Depending on the route you take, you could get a salary, a bursary, or a student loan.

Get Into Teaching has more information on funding.

Most independent schools prefer qualified teachers, but it's not essential.

To teach pupils with hearing impairment, vision impairment or multi-sensory impairment, you’ll need further specialist qualifications. Mandatory qualifications: specialist teachers has more information.

£24,500 to £70,750

Starter salary: £24,500 to £35,000, increasing to £40,000 in inner London

Experienced salary: £38,500 to £41,250, increasing to £50,000 in inner London

These figures are a guide. They include the SEN allowances of £2,085 to £4,116.

Your salary will depend on where you're based, class size, and your responsibilities.

Get Into Teaching has more information on salaries.


You'll usually work 37 hours a week for 39 weeks a year, split over 3 school terms.

You'll spend extra time planning lessons, marking work and taking part in school activities.

You could become the SEN co-ordinator or head of department. At a special needs school, you could become deputy head or headteacher.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • planning and organisational skills
  • creativity and ability to adapt to changing situations
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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