Mainstream is way to go, for now

27th January 2006 at 00:00
I'm doing a design and technology PGCE and want to know whether I can do my NQT year in a special needs school. Do special needs schools employ newly qualified teachers? I have worked at a specialist school for children with autism as a teaching assistantsupport worker for the past two years and would like to carry on in this area.

I am delighted that you want to work in the special needs field; not enough teachers consider this. However, even with your background in a support role in a school for children on the autistic spectrum, I would suggest that you do your NQT year in a mainstream school, for two reasons. First, it is good to work with a cross-section of the pupil population for a year to provide a reference point for your future work. Second, if you find yourself drained after a few years working with autistic children, even though it's rewarding and you are doing a worthwhile job, you may feel like a period back in a mainstream school, perhaps to gain some management experience. This will be much easier if you have undertaken your NQT year in a mainstream school.

John Howson

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