What the role involves
Providers must have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs or disabilities. Maintained nursery schools and other providers who are funded by the local authority to deliver early education places, must to follow the SEND Code of Practice. Maintained nursery schools must have a member of staff to act as a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo), whilst other providers are expected to have a dedicated SENCo.
The role of the SENCo involves:
- making sure all practitioners in the setting understand their responsibilities to children with SEN and the setting’s approach to identifying and meeting SEN
- advising and supporting colleagues
- making sure parents are closely involved throughout and that their insights inform actions taken by the setting
- liaising with professionals or agencies beyond the setting
The role of the SENCo within a setting isn't an add-on to an existing role; it's an important role in its own right and the post holder needs an adequate amount of time allocated to carry out the role effectively.
Knowledge and skills
The SENCo leads on SEN and disability arrangements, coordinating this across the setting, providing support to colleagues when needed and making sure all staff have the most up to date knowledge. They must also be able to implement the settings policies and procedures for responding to any cause for concern and identifying special educational needs and disabilities.
They must have knowledge of processes to follow such as Early Help Assessments and Education Health and Care Plans, working with other professionals to meet children’s individual needs. They must also be able to apply for funding available for children with SEND and make sure the setting's information in the local offer is relevant and up to date.
The SENCo needs to be able to provide support to staff members in meeting children’s needs on a daily basis, working with their key person to support them in meeting the individual child’s needs and improving their progress and outcomes.
Supporting transitions of children with SEND and working together with parents and families from when the child starts attending the setting to when they leave is also important.
Training is essential for the named SENCo within the setting. This can be accessed by contacting Barnsley Education Inclusion Service for dates of future courses. Ongoing training and continuous professional development are also very important in order for the SENCo role to be implemented to its full potential.
The SENCo should also be able to support staff in identifying any training needs they may have and supporting them in accessing available training.