SENCO Networking: Building Connections with Other Professionals

by | Apr 12, 2023

SENCO Networking: Building Connections with Other Professionals

As a SENCO, you play a critical role in supporting students with special educational needs in your school. While you have a wealth of knowledge and experience, building a network of other professionals can provide additional support, guidance, and ideas. In this article, we will explore the benefits of SENCO networking and provide tips for building and maintaining a professional network.

Introduction

Networking can be an essential part of your job as a SENCO. By building connections with other professionals, you can gain access to a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources that can support your students and improve your practice. Whether you’re seeking advice on a specific issue, looking for new strategies to support your students, or just want to connect with like-minded professionals, networking can be highly beneficial.
In this article, we will explore the various aspects of SENCO networking, including identifying who should be in your network, building relationships, collaborating with other professionals, maintaining your network, and overcoming challenges.

Identify Your SEND Network

The first step in building a professional network is to identify who should be in it. As a SENCO, you will want to include a diverse range of professionals who can provide different perspectives and areas of expertise. This might include teachers, support staff, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and others.
To identify professionals to add to your network, consider attending conferences and events related to special education, joining online groups and forums, or simply reaching out to colleagues in your school or district. Be sure to consider professionals from a range of settings, including other schools, local authorities, and charities.

Building Your Network

Once you have identified potential members of your professional network, it’s time to start building relationships. Networking can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the role or haven’t done much networking in the past. However, there are several tips you can use to make the networking process more comfortable and effective.
One effective way to connect with other SENCOs is to use online resources such as LinkedIn or Twitter. These platforms provide an opportunity to connect with professionals from all over the world and engage in conversations about best practices, new resources, and current trends in special education.
Another way to build relationships is to attend professional development events and conferences. These events provide an opportunity to meet other professionals face-to-face and learn from experts in the field. Additionally, attending events can help you stay up-to-date with current trends and best practices in special education.
When networking, it’s essential to initiate conversations and keep in touch with other professionals. Be proactive and reach out to professionals in your network to ask for advice or to share your own experiences. Additionally, be sure to follow up after meetings or events to maintain your connections.

Collaborating with Your SENCO Network

One of the benefits of building a professional network is the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals. Collaboration can take many forms, such as sharing resources and best practices, working together on projects or initiatives, or attending joint professional development and training opportunities.
When collaborating with other professionals, it’s important to establish clear goals and expectations upfront. Additionally, be sure to communicate openly and honestly throughout the collaboration process, and be willing to compromise when necessary.

Maintaining Your Network

Maintaining your professional network is just as important as building it. Regular communication with other professionals can help you stay up-to-date with current trends and best practices in special education, as well as provide ongoing support and advice.
To maintain your network, consider scheduling regular check-ins with professionals in your network, such as monthly phone calls or meetings. Additionally, be sure to stay active in online groups and forums, and attend professional development events and conferences regularly.

Overcoming Networking Challenges

Networking can be challenging, especially if you’re new to the role or haven’t done much networking in the past. However, there are several strategies you can use to overcome common networking challenges.
One challenge many professionals face is managing their time effectively. With a busy schedule, it can be challenging to find time to attend events or connect with other professionals. To overcome this challenge, consider scheduling specific networking time into your calendar, and be sure to prioritise your networking activities.
Another challenge some professionals face is feeling intimidated or experiencing imposter syndrome. If you’re new to the role or don’t have much experience with networking, it can be easy to feel like you don’t belong or aren’t qualified to participate. To overcome this challenge, remember that everyone has something valuable to contribute, and be willing to ask questions and learn from others.

Conclusion

Building and maintaining a professional network can be highly beneficial for SENCOs. By connecting with other professionals, you can gain access to a wealth of knowledge, support, and resources that can improve your practice and benefit your students. Whether you’re new to networking or a seasoned professional, there are many strategies you can use to build and maintain a strong network of professionals in the special education field.

FAQs

1. What are some benefits of having a professional network as a SENCO?

Having a professional network as a SENCO can provide access to a wealth of knowledge, support, and resources that can improve your practice and benefit your students. Additionally, networking can help you stay up-to-date with current trends and best practices in special education.

2. How do I find other SENCOs to add to my network?

You can find other SENCOs to add to your network by attending professional development events, joining online groups and forums, or reaching out to colleagues in your school or district.

3. What are some effective ways to initiate conversations with other professionals?

Effective ways to initiate conversations with other professionals include reaching out through social media or email, attending events and conferences, and participating in online groups and forums.

4. How often should I communicate with my network?

It’s a good idea to communicate with your network regularly, such as through monthly check-ins or online conversations. However, the frequency of communication may vary depending on your schedule and the needs of your network.

5. What should I do if I experience challenges or obstacles when networking?

If you experience challenges or obstacles when networking, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many professionals face similar challenges, and there are many resources available to help you overcome them. Consider reaching out to colleagues or mentors for advice, or attending professional development events focused on networking skills.

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

Become a Member and Support the Community!

This website is supported by 100’s of members who believe in what we are trying to achieve.

Why not join them from just £5 a month?

Being a member is like buying us a coffee once a month to keep us building something special. If that’s too much, become a free member and get our weekly update sent directly to you.

Of course there are more benefits than just an weekly email…