Best Practice

Supporting SEN students: Lessons from a career in special needs education

Colin May’s years of experience working with children with SEN led to him winning the Nasen Award for SEN Leader of the Year. In this article, he gives his advice to teachers working with special needs students


Over my 40 years of working with children and young people, I have come to experience different scenarios, perspectives, feelings and challenges.

Moments of pure delight and on the flip side moments of despair, but since retiring and reflecting on my time as an SEN teacher and leader, I wanted to share some ways of working that may be beneficial to you too.


Develop positive relationships

I know this is obvious, but I am not sure it is always at the forefront of our practice. The pressure of achieving targets and the demands of a broad curriculum can, understandably, get in the way. Nevertheless, we must strive to discover the daily reality for the people in our care. What a child or young person is feeling and experiencing will help us make the right connections.

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