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What is the role of the SENCO?


What is a SENCO?

A Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) has responsibility for ensuring that children’s special educational needs are assessed and that suitable provision is arranged to enable children to progress and participate in all aspects of school life.  

If you have any queries about your child's special educational needs and how they are being met within the school, you should contact the school SENCO. All schools and maintained nursery schools have to have a SENCO in place.  In a small school, the headteacher or deputy may take on this role.

The SENCO must be a qualified teacher working at the school and must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination within three years of appointment.


The role of the SENCO in schools

The SENCO has an important role to play with the headteacher and governing body, in determining the strategic development of SEN policy and provision in the school. They will be most effective in that role if they are part of the school leadership team.

The SENCO's role includes:

  • Co-ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN, including those who have Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans.
  • Providing professional guidance to colleagues and will work closely with staff, parents and other agencies.
  • Being aware of the provision in the Local Offer and be able to work with professionals providing a support role to families to ensure that pupils with SEN receive appropriate support and high quality teaching.

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 use 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

You can read more about the role of the SENCo in schools in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.


SENCOs in early years settings

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

The Early Years Foundation Stage (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.


SENCO Cluster arrangements

In the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead there is a SENCO cluster  which meets on a regular basis to provide a forum for sharing expertise, policy and practice and liaison with the Local Authority. 

If you have any queries about these arrangements, please contact the Children and Young People Disability Service on 01628 685878 or email