Back to Blogs

How to support SEND children in mainstream classrooms!

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author: Leah Baker

Have you thought about working with SEN children or a SEND school?


If you are wondering, ‘what does SEND even mean?’


SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability. If you are an NQT or thinking about completing your teacher’s training, ‘The Children and Families Act’ brought a clear expectation in 2014 that most pupils with SEND would be taught in mainstream schools.


This means that everyone who teaches, can be an SEN teacher and are responsible for the progress and development of all pupils in your class, including those who require extra support.


There is not much training out there to prepare you for these challenges unless you decide to specialise in this, so Dunbar Education have put together some helpful tips for you to think about how you can incorporate this into your practice.


NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union states that ‘Teachers should set clear progress targets for all pupils with SEN that focus on ‘their potential to achieve at or above expectation’. Schools must engage parents and young people in decisions about matters that relate to their own or their child’s SEN, including how those needs should be met’.


There are specialist roles that schools can hire to support in making decisions, such as a SENCO.


SENCO stands for Special Educational Needs Coordinator who will coordinate the provision for children with SEND in schools. SENCOs who were in position before 2009 may have been trained on the job, but now all new SENCOs have to complete a Masters level National Award for Special Educational Needs. 


Some of the special educational challenges you may come across in the classroom are as follows:


We would recommend reading up on these further to support your teachings.


1.     Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)


2.     Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


3.     Dyslexia


4.     Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD)


5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorde (OCD)

6.      Emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD)



Recommendations to support SEN children within a mainstream classroom are:



·        Provide structure within the lesson. If too much is happening, the child may become distracted. Too minimal and the child may lack motivation.


·        Apply rules and be consistent with them. Remind these rules regularly.


·        Have a regular quiet space for the child, if they become stressed or need reassurance, provide that space, and ensure it is not an area of punishment.


·        Ensure all staff are aware of the child’s needs, for example: Lunchtime staff, support staff and teaching assistants, after school club staff. The child’s previous activity can impact the next class so ensure this is as comfortable as it can be.


·        Reinforce instructions with tactile support, such as visual or specific for the child’s needs. Visual Timetables are also very helpful for clear instructions and plans.


·        Help children build friendships; use peer mentoring, buddies, etc to support with socialising the child.


·        Keep the child busy with something to do. Ensure they feel involved with lots of direct communication. Use the child’s first name so they understand you are speaking directly to them.

. Think of ways to adapt the learning objective and the way the lesson is taught. Think of teaching style, delivery, extra time, multi-sensory teaching and learning which addresses all types of learners.

·        Celebrate differences and encourage this positivity so all children recognise and celebrate difference too.


Top Tip - remember we all have good and bad days. The students will have highs and lows as well as yourself and the productivity of your lessons. This can be turned around and a good teacher will help a child understand a bad lesson can turn this around too.


Did you know that Dunbar Education has its own specialist consultants that specialise in SEN?


Dunbar’s SEN division, recognises that SEN provisions have developed a unique learning environment. To improve SEN student outcomes, it is important to match the right teachers and support staff into this environment.


Our team, work with specialist and mainstreams schools to place the best SENCO’s and SEN learning supports around. Making us #proudofwhatwedo.

 With 862 live vacancies on our website, why not get in touch today to find that perfect SEN role for you or assist your school with recruiting SEN specialists.