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Role of the SENCO in schools

Children in the playground

All schools, including academies, must ensure there is a qualified teacher designated as Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) for the school. The SENCO must be a qualified teacher working at the school. If a newly appointed SENCO has not already been a SENCO for at least 12 months, they must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination within three years of appointment.

The SENCO has an important role to play.


The key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:

  • overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
  • co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
  • liaising with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
  • advising on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
  • liaising with parents of pupils with SEN
  • liaising with early years providers, 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 local authority and its support services
  • liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
  • working with the headteacher 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 the records of all pupils with SEN up to date 6.91 The school should ensure that the SENCO has sufficient time and resources to carry out these functions. This should include providing the SENCO with sufficient administrative support and time away from teaching to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities in a similar way to other important strategic roles within a school.
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