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The SENCO Guide - 4. Role of the SENCO

4. Role of the SENCO

 The 2014 SEND Code of Practice


  • Must be a qualified teacher working at the school
  • New to post must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASC)
  • Are most effective if they are part of the school leadership team
  • Provide professional guidance to colleagues and works closely with staff, parents, potential next providers and other agencies
  • Should be aware of the provision in the Local Offer
  • Can be shared by a number of small schools
  • Should have sufficient time and resources to carry out key responsibilities.

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 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 the records of all pupils with SEN up to date

Link to SENCO action plan

Link to SEN governor report guidelines

Link to primary data headlines

Link to example of SEN information report September 2019

Link to example of SEND policy September 2019

Link to Accessibility Plan Guidelines September 2019

Link to example of Annual SEND report September 2019

National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASC)

In September 2009 it became law for every new SENCO in a mainstream school to gain the Masters-level NASC within 3 years of taking up the post.

Newcastle SEND Review Framework

This is a document for schools to use as a self-evaluation tool. The Newcastle SEND Review Framework can be externally validated by the School Effectiveness SEN team. The review involves a full day visit to school by the Senior SEN Advisor and SEN consultant. It includes interviews with key staff, pupils and parents, examination of SEN paperwork and observation of practice. A written report is produced which details findings and recommendations. The report is shared with the head teacher and SENCO.

The framework is also used to support peer to peer SEND reviews across groups of schools. 
Link to Newcastle SEND Review Frameworks (with ARCs/ARPs)

Link to Newcastle SEND Review Frameworks (without ARCs/ARPs)

Inclusion Quality Framework (IQF)

The IQF is Newcastle’s tool to support schools in evaluating their inclusive practice. It can form part of a professional development programme for schools on SEN and disability and the achievement and outcomes of vulnerable groups of pupils. It is therefore recommended that a whole school approach is adopted. Representatives from the School Effectiveness team, Inclusive Education team, SENCOs, parent/ carers, young people and school governors remodelled this tool in 2019. It will be available to schools from September 2019.

Link to IQF

Who to contact

Parent Organisation
The SENCO Guide
Last updated: 21/11/2019
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