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Emily shares her experiences of working with children with special educational needs

01 October 2020  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Congratulations to Emily Treweek, who has secured a position as a teaching assistant at a primary school in Northallerton.  Emily was highly regarded in college for her professionalism, compassion and enthusiasm when leading sporting activities with primary children. Whenever children from local primary and special schools visited, without fail, Emily always motivated and encouraged the children and was a great inspiration to them.  As a teaching assistant, Emily will be working one-to-one with a child in key stage 2.

Mrs Carruthers, PE Teacher and School Games Organiser, said: “Emily started to help coaching and leading sports events when she started Richmond School and Sixth form. She proved to be a natural in front of the young people as she volunteered her time to help run a variety of School Games sporting events. She soon found her niche as she excelled working with pupils with special educational needs and was recognised by staff from across North Yorkshire on many occasions for her excellent attitude, ability and approach to her coaching and leadership work.”

We were pleased to be catch up with Emily to find out more about her new role and what interests and inspires her in working with children with special educational needs.

What prompted you to apply for the role?

When it came to looking round and applying to university, I decided I didn’t think that was the right route for me at this time. I still went through the application process but applied for 2021 entry. I received all my offers back and have conditional offers from the four universities I applied for. When we went into lockdown, I decided this would be the perfect time to keep an eye out for jobs so I signed up to ‘Indeed’ and checked it daily. At first, there appeared to be very little which is what I expected but eventually a few teaching assistant roles started popping up. I have wanted to go into teaching and supporting those with additional needs since I started leading sports events in Year 12 and so given that I wasn’t going to university I decided that becoming a teaching assistant would be a good route to take in order to gain more classroom experience. I applied for the different roles that came up in the area. I didn’t expect to be successful at all but I was offered an interview at a primary school in Northallerton to work one-to-one with a student in key stage 2. This was my first proper interview and was held over google meet. To my complete surprise I was offered the job!

 Are you especially interested in working with children with special educational needs?

Ever since tail running in a cross-country event with a girl who has Down’s Syndrome, I have been fascinated by the different ways people with special needs access different things and the way their additional needs can affect different areas of their lives. I think it is really important that everything is accessible to those with additional needs whatever they might be, but I am particularly interested in accessible sport and education. A spark was truly ignited in me when I started to help run the panathlon events I realised then that I was desperate to work with people who have special needs. For the longest time, the route I was going to take in order to do this was still a huge decision I had to make but I just knew that regardless of that, I wanted to end up in a role where I can support people with additional needs. The job I have now is absolutely perfect for what I was looking for and will focus on helping a student by working one-to-one with them in order to meet their needs. I haven’t specifically worked with a child in this way before but I am very excited to have the opportunity to learn more about it and to try and break down barriers to learning.

Are you doing any voluntary work with young children or sport at the moment or in the future?

Had I not have been offered this job, I would’ve gone to schools and offered voluntary support in order to build on my classroom experience that way, but since being offered the job I want that to be my primary focus. However, when restrictions began to ease I saw a post on Facebook asking for volunteers at riding for the disabled. They were looking for volunteers to help out on either a Wednesday or Saturday and so I contacted them to say I would be interested in helping out on a Saturday every once in a while. I’m waiting to start this at the moment but hopefully when things are back up and running, I will be able to offer some of my time and support. Voluntary work is something that I think can be very beneficial not only to those who you are helping out but also to yourself in helping you to gain more experience either in certain areas or just life in general.

Do you have any plans for the future in terms of your career?

My main plan for my future career is to work in the education sector with students who have additional needs. Currently, I’m not sure which role I will fulfil, the idea of being able to teach a whole class PE and help them discover a love for sport excites me greatly but on the other hand the idea of working one-to-one with certain students is something I think would be really rewarding and I would love being able to build up a relationship with them in order to help them as best I can. At the moment, I’m just going to see where things go!

I honestly can’t thank the staff at Richmond School and Sixth Form enough, especially my sport teachers for always pushing me and trusting me to take on different responsibilities and my psychology teacher for seeing past all the negative parts and always believing in my ability! I couldn’t have achieved what I have without the ongoing support of all the staff at school and I am so grateful to them!

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