Specialist Experience and Skills
I have been teaching for over 17 years and have experience in a range of settings (Special School, Primary School, Secondary School and Alternative Provision). I have experience of working with children with Multiple and Complex Learning needs, specialising in Autism and Social Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, Mental Health and Medical needs and many encompassing conditions. It is a cliché, but I love my job. Working with unique, incredible individuals can be challenging but the rewards and immense, watching a young person, who has previously had a turbulent relationship with the edu... Read More
I have been teaching for over 17 years and have experience in a range of settings (Special School, Primary School, Secondary School and Alternative Provision). I have experience of working with children with Multiple and Complex Learning needs, specialising in Autism and Social Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, Mental Health and Medical needs and many encompassing conditions. It is a cliché, but I love my job. Working with unique, incredible individuals can be challenging but the rewards and immense, watching a young person, who has previously had a turbulent relationship with the education system start smiling and engaging in their learning, is truly wonderful to be a part of.
My skills and experience working with children who have a range of Special Educational Needs: As a qualified SENCO and Alternative Provision Teacher, I have an overview of the Special Needs process from diagnosis to EHCP allocation and beyond (f both the challenges and positive outcomes). I have written and reviewed many EHCPs, Provision Maps, Individual Education Plans, Behaviour Support Plans etc. I am aware of the financial implications of SEN and have successfully secured Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) to support numerous pupils. As an Inclusion Leader I was chair of the Exceptional Needs Group for my local Schools cluster. I sat on the Local Authority ENF Panel and I also became a representative on the Exceptional Needs Advisory Group, ensuring I was abreast of the Special Needs funding processes so that I could use this knowledge to secure the best outcomes for pupils. It was in this role I led the school to achieve the prestigious Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM), a testimony to the exceptional work I was led at my school in supporting pupils with Additional Needs.
My skills and experience supporting students with high-functioning autism: I have worked with pupils who high functioning autism for over 17 years. I first became interested Autism whilst studying at University for my BSc in Cognitive Science. I specifically tailored my study route to incorporate as much enquiry into communication disorders. As an educator I have worked within this extraordinarily complex field and understand the array of challenges autism brings for the young person and their family. I have helped to lead a previous school achieve the National Autistic Society ‘Autism Friendly Award’ and have undertaken an array of specialist training from the Autism Education Trust.
This is a vastly complex area and each childs resultant behaviours are vastly different and need to be treated as such. I have experienced both the physical and behavioural difficulties and conversely have witnessed masking behaviours, the incredible positives, and the challenges. There are many adjustments that can, and should, be made when teaching children with autism, however I have found above all else I need a deep understanding of the pupil, unwavering kindness, extreme resilience and a high level of empathy and expectation for the pupil.
My skills and experience developing trusting relationships with students with SEN including autism: In working with students with additional needs and autism it is particularly important to build positive, trusting relationships and understand the young persons triggers and motivations. For example, a young man I worked with recently for a year (autism, PDA and ADHD diagnosis) would display small ticks if he was becoming uncomfortable, these were very subtle at first but by recognising them I was able to adapt my teaching and calm his anxieties before they become unmanageable for him. I have learnt that each individual has differing triggers for their anxieties, many of which will be predictable and can be prepared for in advance. The core of a trusting, positive relationship is to make the young person feel safe with you, it helps to be able to diffuse stressful situations, this provides a sense of safety and can help the student regain control, it also provides a foundation for a trusting student/tutor relationship. Another pupil I worked with spent many of the first sessions we had together trying their best (through extreme behaviours) to try to get me to give up on her, once she knew this was not going to happen and I was prepared to deal with the challenging behaviours we established a wonderful working relationship.
Above all else it is important to recognise that the young person is not defined by their additional needs, they are so much more. Every child is unique and should be embraced, enjoyed, and celebrated.
Curriculum delivery to GCSE (Maths, English, Geography and Science): I have extensive experience creating and delivering engaging, highly differentiated and motivating bespoke curriculums from KS1 to KS4. I feel passionately that all pupils, regardless of their additional needs have the opportunity to achieve their personal best and as such have successfully delivered maths, English, Geography and Science (Individual and combined) to both Functional Skills and GCSE level as Head of Maths at a secondary MLD School and as a personal tutor.
I have a vast knowledge of the curriculum for the different exam boards and have used this knowledge to personalise and adapt my teaching, delivering lessons in a fun, structured and multi-sensory approach. I was previously a Leading teacher in Hertfordshire supporting other teachers to embed these skills within their own practise.
My skills and experience boosting student’s confidence, self-esteem and reducing anxieties: Poor self -esteem, poor sense of self, confidence issues and anxiety can all play a huge role in a young persons readiness and ability to learn. I am acutely aware that unless these areas are embedded within delivery of the curriculum, attainment will not occur. Students with self-esteem and confidence issues need encouragement to believe in themselves and in their abilities. This in turn helps reduce anxieties. Some of the ways I have achieved this is through subtle actions such as involving students in planning their learning, involving them in topic choices, creating a safe space, picking up on anxieties at their root and providing positive feedback and using positive language. Positive relationships are absolutely key.
I am a qualified Mental health First-Aider with Mental Health England, and as such am able to address all aspects of mental health both positive and negative, ranging from general challenges to those more specific challenges such as anxiety and low mood.
My skills working with students who are demand avoidance or defiant Supporting pupils: My first experience of working with a student with Pathological Demand Avoidance was approx. 5 years ago. At that time, it was a relatively under-diagnosed disorder and as such information was hard to find. It was an incredibly steep learning curve for me (and my student) but through research and experience I gained a deeper insight into not only Demand Avoidance but in defiant behaviours more generally.
Since this time, I have gone on to teach a number of students who present as PDA. I recently worked with a young man whose Autism and more specifically his Defiant Behaviours had meant he was no longer able to manage within a mainstream setting. Over the year we worked together I utilised strategies such as depersonalising requests, using visual cues, reducing demands and above all getting used to his intricacies (I always made several copies of the work we were doing as I knew he would destroy the first few).
Experience working with pupils with Behavioural difficulties: I have a history of supporting students with severe and complex behavioural difficulties in my roles within a Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) School, a Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) School as a SENCo, a Deputy Head and as Inclusion Leader and Behaviour Lead.
I have experience working with pupils with a range of co-morbid conditions that can cause unpredictable and challenging behaviours that require delicate, experienced management. I have a compassionate and kind nature and remain calm under the pressures extremely complex and challenging behaviours can bring. I have worked with numerous children throughout my career who have been described as being ‘unteachable’, I do not believe any young person is unteachable, they just require the right teaching. If you are able to be resilient and build up a positive relationship, then you can help the pupil to find alternative ways to demonstrate their feelings and anguish.
Most recently I worked with a young lady who had been unsuccessful within the education system, professionals described her behaviour as some of the most challenging they had seen. After a year of working together (being educated at home) she is now in a specialist provision and is coping magnificently.