RECRUITMENT is now underway for an innovative new course at the University of Sunderland.

The programme will allow trainee teachers to specialise in supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (Send) in both mainstream and specialist schools.

Primary Education with Send route into QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) starts this September and is in response to a growing demand from the University’s partner schools for teachers who specialise in Send.

David Amos is Head of School at Harton Academy in South Shields and chair of the university’s Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Partnership Committee.

He said: “This opportunity is a fine example of the university’s agility at responding to the needs of the profession. In an era when we are seeing a rise in Send across the country, it is reassuring that this offer is now available within our region.

“High quality Send training for new entrants into our profession can only be a superbly positive move, and one from which our young people in schools will most definitely benefit. The training provided will be the perfect complement to the already-outstanding quality of teacher-training offered at Sunderland.”

Carolyn Morgan, chief executive of Ascent Academies' Trust, which runs four specialist schools in the North East, helped develop the programme.

She said: “I am thrilled to have played a part.

“It is crucial that our children, who have complex special needs, have the best teachers who are well-prepared to work in the special school sector. This degree course is truly inclusive of all young people with SEND and is welcomed by special school leaders, our parents and our pupils.”

The university is the only ITT provider in the region to offer this course.

Susan Edgar, head of the School of Education at the university, added: “Many of our trainee teachers currently undertake SEND placements in our partnership schools but this new programme will support us to take the next step to support our Partnership in providing training with a Send specialist route to gain QTS.

“It will fill a real gap for schools and consequently the employment prospects for trainees on this route are excellent, as they will be qualified to work in both specialist Send settings and mainstream schools.”