What is a SENCO?

The role of the SENCO in schools is clearly set out in the SEND Code of Practice. The SENCO has day to day responsibility for the operation of SEN policy and the co-ordination of specific provision to support learners at SEN Support and those with an EHC Plan. By being aware of the Local Offer and working with others they will ensure that learners with SEN receive appropriate support and high quality teaching.

The SENCO will provide professional guidance to colleagues and will work closely with staff, parents and other professionals.

The key responsibilities of the SENCO

As outlined in the Code of Practice -

  • coordinating provision for learners with SEN
  • advising on the graduated response to providing SEN support
  • advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet learners’ needs
  • liaising with parents and learners with SEND
  • liaising with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals and independent or voluntary sector professionals
  • liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure the learner and their parents are informed about options and there is a smooth transition
  • being a key point of contact with external agencies, including the Local Authority
  • working with the Head teacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
  • ensuring that the school keeps all records of learners with SEND up to date

There may also be the need to -

  • collate information for individual learners, including the completion of forms for EHC assessment and annual reviews of EHC plans
  • provide training and support for teachers, teaching assistants and any other relevant adults
  • monitor practice to ensure support is implemented and good practice is maintained
  • write policies for the school and ensure these are adhered to and reviewed appropriately
  • ensure that knowledge of named external professionals for the school is kept up to date

Every mainstream school must have a qualified teacher with training and/or experience of Special Educational Needs (SEN) to be the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). However, every teacher is a teacher of SEN. All teachers are responsible for providing SEN support and adhering to the code of Practice.

SENCOs should work closely with parents to improve outcomes for children and young people. Parents have valuable expertise and knowledge about their child to share. Home and school should work in partnership to agree the support.

All early years providers also need to have an identified member of staff to act as a SENCO.