What is a SENCO? – New SENCO Basics

by | Apr 7, 2023

SENCO: A Guide to Special Educational Needs Coordinators

A SENCO, or Special Educational Needs Coordinator, is a vital member of any school’s support team. This person is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the provision of support and resources for students with special educational needs.

SENCOs work closely with teachers, parents, and external agencies to identify and assess the needs of students with special educational needs and to provide the necessary support to help them achieve their full potential. This support can take many forms, such as accommodations, modifications, and interventions, and it can involve working with students both in and out of the classroom.

Qualifying as a SENCO

To qualify as a SENCO, there are specific requirements and qualifications that need to be met. In the UK, for example, the qualifications and requirements include:

  1. Qualified teacher status (QTS)
  2. A minimum of two years of teaching experience
  3. A postgraduate certificate in Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO) (NASENCO completed within 3 years of role)

In addition to these formal qualifications, SENCOs are expected to possess a range of skills and knowledge related to special educational needs and inclusive education practices. These may include:

  • An understanding of different types of special educational needs and disabilities
  • Knowledge of the legal and regulatory framework related to special educational needs and disability (SEND)
  • The ability to assess and identify the needs of students with special educational needs
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills for working with students, parents, and external agencies
  • The ability to plan and coordinate effective support for students with special educational needs
  • Knowledge of different accommodations, modifications, and interventions that can support students with special educational needs.

Becoming a SENCO requires a significant amount of education, training, and experience. However, for those with a passion for inclusive education and a desire to support students with special educational needs, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path.

Key roles

There are many key roles as part of being a SENCO:

  • Overseeing and coordinating the provision of support and resources for students with special educational needs (SEN)
  • Collaborating with teachers to identify and address any barriers to learning that may be present for students with SEN
  • Providing accommodations, modifications, and interventions to support students with SEN
  • Promoting inclusive education practices throughout the school
  • Advocating for the rights and needs of students with SEN, both within the school and in the wider community
  • Working with parents and external agencies to identify and assess the needs of students with SEN
  • Providing training and resources to teachers to support inclusive education practices
  • Ensuring that all students with SEN have access to the same opportunities and resources as their peers
  • Empowering students with SEN to advocate for themselves and their needs

These roles require a high level of skill and knowledge, and SENCOs play a critical role in ensuring that all students, regardless of their abilities or needs, have access to the resources and support they need to achieve their full potential.

The Goal of the SENCO

Ultimately, the goal of a SENCO is to ensure that every student has the support and resources they need to thrive academically and personally. By collaborating with teachers, parents, and external agencies, and advocating for the needs of students with special educational needs, SENCOs play a crucial role in promoting a more inclusive and equitable educational system for all.

Highly Skilled and Super Supportive

Overall, a SENCO is a highly skilled and knowledgeable professional who plays a critical role in ensuring that all students, regardless of their abilities or needs, have access to the resources and support they need to achieve their full potential. If you have any questions about the role of a SENCO or the support available for students with special educational needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s SENCO for guidance and support.

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.

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