Additional Support Needs (ASN) or Special Educations Needs (SEN)?
ASN is the term used in Scottish educational settings. In England and Northern Ireland the term is Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) in Wales.
What is an ASN Teacher?
Being an ASN teacher can be a very varied role. ASN teachers work with children and young people who have disabilities or learning difficulties. These cover a wide spectrum from young people with sensory impairments, behavioural difficulties, or conditions such as dyslexia.
Learners may be physically disabled, have visual or hearing impairments, be emotionally vulnerable or suffer from specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.
Often ASN teachers provide extra support to help children struggling with reading, writing, or maths. They often work with young people who have issues with comprehension and expressing themselves. The work also involves practical help for children and young people who may have physical or sensory needs.
The role of an ASN teacher is to create a safe and stimulating environment that meets the different needs of their learners.
On rare occasions ASN teachers need to work with exceptionally gifted learners who need extra support and challenge beyond the typical classroom environment.
"I entered into teaching partly because it was and is still considered as a ‘family- friendly’ profession for females in the Asian community and partly because I had always wanted to teach. I studied for my PGCE Jordanhill College of Education as a mature student. It was extremely challenging to get back into full time studies at a speed of 100 miles an hour but I was fortunate that I had lots of support, both at university and at home, which pulled me through. "Meenakshi Sood – EAL /ASN Specialist Team at Battlefield Primary
Skills needed to be an ASN teacher
It is the role of an ASN teacher to identify the teaching requirements for different children and young people and to create a safe and stimulating environment where they can learn. Being an ASN teacher can sometimes be a challenging role so strong relationship building skills are important so that you can understanding and communicate effectively with learners.
Being able to build strong relationships with parents is even more important in ASN teaching. ASN teachers also work closely with other professionals such as speech therapists, child psychologists, and social workers.
But most importantly, successful ASN teachers are positive and empathetic.
Becoming an ASN teacher
To become an ASN teacher you need to complete a programme of teacher education. This can either be an undergraduate degree in education or a one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). You then need to Register in Additional Support Needs.
To do this you need to be eligible for provisional registration with General Teaching Council Scotland and have an appropriate ASN award. Visit the GTS Scotland site for information on ASN awards.