Best Practice

Lessons learned from 27 years supporting SEN students

Recently retired after 27 years managing an in-school SEN provision, Gary Whall discusses the changes he has seen and the lessons he has learned
Life lessons: Gary Whall managed Bristnall Hall Academy’s SEN provision for 27 years. He won the Teacher of the Year Award at the 2023 Nasen Awards (image: Nasen) -

When I started teaching in 1979, special educational needs were not really recognised in mainstream schools. Of course, there were students with poor reading ages, low literacy skills and/or low numeracy skills, but these students were simply taught in the lower sets.

Apart from this all students were treated the same. As you can imagine, there were a lot of students who were misunderstood and frequently in trouble.

Looking back, you can see they had difficulties, but nobody really thought about it. You had Jack who continually walked out of class saying it was too noisy, Ben who would react badly when getting something wrong, and Joe who refused to work at times.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here