Auxiliary support

6th June 2003 at 01:00
Agnes MacAllister. Special educational needs auxiliary, Cardonald Primary, Glasgow

"I support three children in P2 and one in P6 with his physiotherapy programme.

"I escort one child to school in a taxi. She is usually in a wheelchair. We arrive at 8.55am.

"I then escort my learning support pupil up the stairs. He has global learning difficulties and a problem with his balance. I give him learning support in class. The teacher outlines the lesson and I'll sit with him or his group and keep him on task, working to his pace.

"I have to do a blood test on a diabetic pupil at 10am every day and may give her insulin via a pump or a sugar tablet.

"At 11am I have to check that a pupil with cystic fibrosis takes his medicine before his milk to break down the fats.

"So I'm keeping an eye on the clock all the time, which can be difficult if you get engrossed in the learning support, which continues through to lunchtime.

"This boy has an allergy to nuts and dairy products. He only takes lunch in school once a week, when I queue with him and make sure his food has been prepared separately.

"I check the girl's insulin again at 12 o'clock, before lunch, and give insulin if necessary before she eats or goes out to play.

"I escort pupils back to class after lunch and take a break from 1pm to 1.40pm before going back to give learning support.

"Three days a week I will then do physiotherapy for 20 minutes with the P6 pupil. The therapist instructs me and I keep in liaison with her, as I do with the parents.

"I finish at 3pm.

"I have a certificate in learning support and am interested in doing an HND. I feel my role is vital. I was daunted when I first became an SEN auxiliary, but we all work as a team and I can say I love my job. You've got to be organised and flexible and liaise with the other SEN auxiliaries in case of absence. We all keep up-to-date records.

"In learning support you have to be firm, fair and consistent. You can be absolutely exhausted at the end of the day."

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