Role of the SENCO

The following information is taken from the relevant paragraphs in Section 5 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0 to 25 years.

Early years provision

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5.52 A maintained nursery school must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as the SENCO in order to ensure the detailed implementation of support for children with SEN. This individual should also have the prescribed qualification for SEN Co-ordination or relevant experience.

5.53 The EYFS framework requires other early years providers to have arrangements in place for meeting children’s SEN. 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 may wish to share that role between them.

6.85 The SENCO must be a qualified teacher working at the school. A newly appointed SENCO must be a qualified teacher and, where they have not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, they must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination within three years of appointment

7.22 The governing bodies of colleges… should ensure that there is a named person in the college with oversight of SEN provision to ensure co-ordination of support, similar to the role of the SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) in schools. This person should contribute to the strategic and operational management of the college.

New SENCOs need to fulfil the leadership role set out in the Code of Practice, the key features of which are: 

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy and/or provision described in the SEN Information report
  • Coordinating provision for children with SEN
  • Liaising with the relevant designated teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
  • Advising on a graduated approach to providing SEN Support including the assess, plan do review cycle
  • Advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
  • Liaising with parents of children with SEN and ensuring that the voice of the pupil is heard
  • Liaising with other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
  • Being a key point of contact with external agencies, especially the LA and LA support services
  • Being aware of Cornwall’s Local Offer, contributing where appropriate and sharing its content with young people with SEND and parent/carers
    • Liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a young person and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
    • 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 or maintained nursery keeps the records of all children with SEN up to date

The South West Consortium of Plymouth University and University of Exeter in partnership with regional local authorities runs this course for SENCOs. SENCos  in Cornwall who wish to apply for this course can do so via School Messenger. It is advisable to apply early as places are currently limited to 30.