Banner Default Image

Hiring a Skilled SEN Workforce

Back to Blogs
Blog Img

Hiring a Skilled SEN Workforce

​If you’re working in the SEN sector in the UK, you’ll understand the unique challenges related to hiring SEN teachers and other professionals to work in special education environments.

To provide the necessary quality of care and education to children in SEN schools, it’s vital to have a workforce comprised of people who have the skills, attitude and qualifications that are essential for doing this work.

Work With a SEN Recruitment Agency That Understands Your Unique Challenges

As SEN recruitment specialists, Charles Hunter Associates has extensive experience in supporting SEN schools by hiring temporary and permanent staff. We’re working with a range of special needs schools in the UK, with student bodies ranging from 50 to 80 individuals.

The mandated one-to-one ratio between staff and students in SEN schools, whilst necessary, often results in many schools operating below their full capacity. In fact, we see many schools operate at just half their intended capacity due to the difficulties in hiring. This is especially the case for children with complex autism, where an intensive level of one-to-one care is required.

Combined with SEN schools’ reliance on government funding and charitable donations, providers face significant operational challenges, making it all the more important to work with recruitment agencies with thorough processes in place.

Hire Vetted Candidates with the Right Fit

Meticulous screening of candidates is essential for safeguarding vulnerable individuals in SEN environments – an operating principle that has seen us win the “Best Compliance Operation” at the Recruiter Awards in 2023

Managing a diligent recruitment process with full background screening is the foundation of hiring for SEN schools, but there’s more to successful placements than just paperwork.

Frequently, our schools prefer candidates with a genuine passion for the work and exceptional communication skills. This beats those people who have technical qualifications but lack the ability or aptitude to effectively communicate with children in a SEN setting.

As our clients understand, competency-based recruitment is important to hiring candidates with the best fit. That involves identifying suitable candidates based on attributes and transferable skills who are then vetted before we refer them to hiring managers. In addition to their qualifications, many of the teaching assistants we recruit have personal experience with special educational needs, often through their own children, relatives, or close family members. This counts for a lot, when you consider the challenges of working with children who need patience, understanding, and love.

Look for Dedicated Training and Support for SEN Staff

We’re often hiring for SEN positions at a faster pace than what you would expect from traditional recruitment, as having a rapid process for hiring staff is critical for keeping classes running.

Recognising this challenge, we actively address the need for ongoing, consistent training of SEN placements to help build a robust SEN workforce. Charles Hunter Associates provides continuous professional development (CPD) training for the people we place into SEN schools that covers moving and handling, first aid, medication administration, safeguarding, and food hygiene, for both children and adults.

Furthermore, we provide specialised training for epilepsy and autism awareness through the Oliver McGowan training programme, ensuring our candidates are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support students with complex special needs.

Seeing the value in developing their temporary workforce, more schools have moved towards on-site training of staff, which helps reduce costs and fosters a sense of inclusion among the school’s permanent team.

Training Success in Action

Dedication to staff training can achieve remarkable turnarounds for SEN schools, such as Prior’s Court School, for example. Working in partnership with them, the training initiatives they created delivered unprecedented interest in positions at the school – creating such demand that there is currently a waiting list for people wanting to attain NVQ Level Three qualifications!

Prior’s Court has achieved monumental success, and we express gratitude to everyone involved, especially those who assisted in securing full enrollment for the NVQ Level Three programme.

Prioritise Wellbeing for SEN Jobs

Nurturing your temporary staff is just as important as looking after your permanent workforce.

We regularly speak with our temporary staff through monthly welfare checks. During these chats, we put work aside and focus on their well-being. We talk about their workload, making sure they're getting enough rest, and addressing any job-related situations or issues, especially in children's care.

These checks aren't just for ticking boxes. We want to understand how they're doing, their plans for the future, and any adjustments they might need during the time they’re with a school. If they are planning a break from work, we’ll also talk to them about their plans for when they return. These welfare checks are all about taking care of our team in a well-rounded way.

This approach has encouraged several of our temp staff to continue working with us for years. It's all about valuing the impact an individual makes, putting their success and the well-being of both our staff and the students they support first.

Contact the SEN Specialists 

To navigate the complexity of recruiting people for SEN jobs, it’s worthwhile having a trusted partner with recognised experience in supporting employers in the SEN sector. If you’re looking to hire for an open SEN position, get in touch with our friendly team today.