Inclusive Teaching and Learning, Parenting, Leadership and SEN
Welcome to Inclusiveteach, a community dedicated to supporting children with diverse needs and empowering educators to create inclusive learning environments. Our story began with a passionate teacher and SEN parent Joe White, who recognised the need for resources and support in special education.
Now a Deputy Principal at a special school, Joe has devoted his career to helping children with a range of needs, particularly those with Autism and Communication difficulties. He has also taken on the role of Mental Health, Behaviour and Wellbeing Lead as well as the school’s Professional Development Lead, ensuring that the well-being of both students and staff is a top priority.
Inclusiveteach.com started as a reflective blog for Joe’s NPQML, but it quickly grew into something much bigger. Today, it is a thriving website that offers a wealth of resources for teachers and over 300 articles related to special education. Our mission is to provide a platform for educators to share their experiences, ideas, and best practices in creating inclusive learning environments.
At Inclusiveteach, we believe that every child deserves access to high-quality education, regardless of their abilities or challenges. We understand that this requires a collaborative effort, which is why we invite educators, experts, and advocates to join us in our mission,many articles have been written in collaboration with others either directly or through #SENExchange. If you’re interested in contributing a guest blog, we would love to have you on board. Together, we can create a supportive community that empowers educators and helps children with diverse needs reach their full potential.
There are four main pillars to the content here:
- Special Education Teaching – Providing teaching resources including sensory stories written for PMLD, SLD and EYFS Learners. Behaviour, inclusion, and need/diagnosis specific article and ideas.
- Education Recruitment – Helping teachers, TA’s and School Leaders on their interviews and application processes.
- SEN Parenting – Strategies and ideas for everyday life.
- Leadership – Reflections on my career to date and leadership ideas and tips.
Thank you for being part of our journey. We look forward to working with you to create a brighter future for all children.
My Special Education Teaching Background
I originally wrote this for Kent-teach.com who asked me to write about my teaching journey. Click the link for the extended version. So how did I get into teaching? Now please don’t judge me for this, I don’t even know if what I’m about to say is really true or if I’ve told the story so many times that it has just become the de facto reason I became a teacher… The program “Teachers” was my inspiration to take up teaching. Was it the camaraderie, the constant challenges and never-ending variety of situations to deal with? Who knows?
So I completed my PGCE (Secondary Geography) at Canterbury Christ Church University. I naively thought I would have another year living the student life while occasionally talking about rivers, rocks and the one-child policy. What followed was the most intense and challenging 9 months of my life.
A Special Education NQT
I saw an advert for NQTs at a special school and thought why not?
I had no experience or qualifications in SEN. Quickly reassured by the Head that the children are so unique that I had to work there before any training or I would just be talking about stereotypes.
While I was on my PGCE, there was a view that you need to move schools after 2 years. I ignored this advice and spent 12 years at Stone Bay School in Broadstairs.
I started as an NQT in special education. With lessons pitched too high, too low, with no idea about Autism. With no idea how to lead a team of LSA’s. However, I had a very confident and relaxed Head who allowed me to try things and didn’t judge when those ideas were proved to be ridiculous. This confidence to make mistakes and grow as a teacher is a culture that cannot be overvalued. It is also one I fear is being lost on the quest for standardisation and outstanding grades.
The issue I have with the idea that to be a better teacher and leader is to move schools constantly, is that you never fully see the impact of your initiatives and ideas. It’s very easy to launch an idea like mindfulness or peer observations, to see everyone use it then leave for bigger things. For it to be abandoned with all the energy effectively wasted. It is much harder to implement a meaningful change that has an impact over an extended period that then becomes embedded in the school’s practice. These take time and energy, leadership and passion but they are effective. I feel if you are not there for the whole process you can’t realise how effective well managed change and consistent approaches can be.
So I stayed and made a lot of mistakes, and consequently learnt a lot about myself and how organisations work. I still have self-doubts and the thought that others are better at their job than me. That’s fine, they are my teachers and I want them to be better than me. As long as I remain passionate about Special education and doing the best for the children I work for that is enough for me.
My first foray into leadership, I was ICT subject leader mainly because I was the only one who could figure out the computer in the hall used for assemblies.
The deputy head had coached me a bit suggesting I step up. I became key stage 4 lead in 2007
This was the hardest job I have done as it involved a lot of additional work and was very much a management position. But without the time to really lead anything. I had to deal with staffing issues and some very challenging students. I said yes to things I should have allowed others to do.
This pull between paperwork and teaching my class was a struggle throughout my time as a middle leader. Everything became a compromise and I applied for a couple of jobs I didn’t really want. This period drew to a close though with a period of dramatic change for the school. I became acting Deputy Headteacher for 6 months as our entire senior leadership team changed. This period could be a blog all to itself.
A new Headteacher started and when our Deputy Head left I was promoted to a new role of Assistant Headteacher to undertake some of the responsibilities our Deputy had. The Head put us on the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML). Which I wish I’d done as key stage manager.
As part of my wider commitment to Kent special schools and special education in the south East, I had additional responsibility for developing leading a team of positive behaviour support instructors from 11 schools across the county which gives me the fantastic opportunity to collaborate with a range of schools including mainstream schools and respite providers. When I left in 2018 this had grown from 20 to over 60 instructors in over 16 schools.
I moved to a much bigger special school in Easter 2018 and began a new chapter that will be reflected through new articles and resources on this site such as the sensory stories and emotional regulation resources.
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