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Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

A SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) has responsibility for an establishments Special Educational Needs (SEN) policy and for co-ordinating the help and support for individual children who need additional support.

Their job is to:

  • make sure the SEN policy is used every day
  • ensure staff in the setting understand their responsibilities for children with SEN and the setting’s approach to identifying and meeting SEN.
  • work with parents to help their child. The SENCO is likely to be the person who liaises with you about your child’s needs and any needs identified in the Education, Health and Care Plan (if applicable).
  • Support staff to identify, assess and plan for the needs and the development of support programmes to meet the needs of children with SEND.
  • work with local council support services
  • work with other professionals, as appropriate to ensure support is co-ordinated and targeted appropriately.

SENCO’s should be qualified to carry out the role or have relevant experience for special educational needs co-ordination.

Where SENCOs work

SENCO’s work in early years settings, schools and post-16 education provision.

Early years settings must meet the SEN needs of the children they look after. Those in group provision are expected to identify a SENCO. Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as SENCO and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or who are part of a network could share the role between them.

All mainstream schools and maintained nursery schools must have a SENCO.

Mainstream colleges must support students with SEN in a similar way to schools. This includes doing everything they can to identify the needs of students with SEN and putting in place the help they need through SEN support. There should be a named person in charge of support for students with SEN.