What is a SENCO?

If you have a child with SEN (Special Educational Needs), you have probably been told at some point to speak to the SENCo at your school. Who are they and what do they actually do?

SENCo stands for ‘Special Educational Needs Coordinator’. All mainstream schools have to appoint a SENCo and they make sure that the school’s special needs policy is correctly implemented. They deal with children who have statements or EHCPs, as well as referring children to other services such as SALT (Speech and language therapy) or OT (Occupational Therapy).

The NAHT describes the responsibilities of the SENCo as follows:

The SENCo is responsible for the daily implementation of the SEN policy and the specific provisions made to support pupils with SEN including those with Education Health Care Plans. 

They should ensure the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date.

The SENCo will work with the head teacher and the governing body to ensure the school’s responsibilities are met under the Equality Act [2010] with reference to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements. They will also work with the head teacher and governing body to advise on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget, other resources, and the graduated approach to providing SEN support to ensure the needs of pupils are met.

The SENCo works closely with, and is a key point of contact for, parents, other educational establishments, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals and independent and voluntary bodies. They will be aware of the Local Offer and provision within it and must be able to work with other professionals to provide a supportive role to families to ensure pupils with SEN receive appropriate support and that the teaching is of a high standard. The SENCo will also liaise with possible providers of the next stage of education for a child with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and ensure both they, and their parents, are informed of options to plan a smooth transition.

The SENCo will provide professional guidance to colleagues and where looked-after children have SEN, the SENCo will liaise with the designated teacher”

The SENCo has to be a qualified teacher and within three years of being appointed, they will complete a master’s level qualification and receive the NASENCO- The National Award for SEN.

The SENCo is usually the first port of call for parents and carers of children with autism, and as part of this blog, we have interviewed the SENCo at a local primary school so that we can hear directly from them what the job entails and the training required.

© Peta Slaney, 2020, All Rights Reserved.