A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo / SENDCo) co-ordinates special educational needs provision for children and young people who require additional support in an education setting.

A setting may have an Inclusion Leader with responsibility for carrying out SENCo duties.

The SENCo is the main point of contact for staff. They can offer help and advice on the identification of needs and support to meet those needs. They monitor the progress of pupils with SEND, and are responsible for the effectiveness of interventions and support.

Key duties of SENCos

Key duties of a school SENCo:

  • oversee the strategic development of SEND policy and provision.
  • oversee the day-to-day use of the school's SEND policy
  • support the identification of children with SEND. This is done through various activities such as monitoring data and progress against targets, assessments, observations and speaking to the teacher, family and pupil
  • co-ordinate provision for pupils with SEND
  • liaise with families of pupils with SEND
  • advise on the Graduated Response to providing SEN support, across all levels
  • develop and ensure there is effective teaching and adaptations in the classroom
  • manage and advise on the school budget and resources for SEN provision
  • develop and maintain systems for keeping pupil records. Ensure information is accurate and up to date
  • analyse school, local, and national data and develop strategies and interventions.
  • provide advice, guidance, and training to teachers on supporting pupils with SEN
  • oversee the consistency of individual support/learning plans for pupils with SEN
  • make requests for support and liaise with support services outside of the school
  • support teachers with meetings with families or carry these out
  • manage staff who have responsibility for SEN
  • keep up to date with national and local policies related to SEN. Share these with staff

Early years SENCos:

The role of the early years SENCo.

Requirements for SENCos in settings

Early years settings:

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework requires all early years providers to have arrangements in place to:

  • identify and support children with special educational needs or disabilities
  • promote equality of opportunity for children in their care

The framework applies to all early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary, and independent sectors that are funded by the local authority.

Maintained nursery schools must have a qualified teacher designated as the SENCo. This person should have the prescribed SENCO qualification or relevant experience.

It is recommended that other early years providers have a designated SENCo to ensure the needs of children with SEN are met effectively.

Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as SENCo. Those registered with a childminder agency or part of a network may share the role between them.

SENCos in early years settings should be qualified to level 3 in a relevant childcare qualification.


State funded mainstream schools in England, including academies, free schools, (university technical) colleges and mainstream nurseries must employ a qualified teacher in the SENCo role. They will usually be expected to form part of the leadership team.

The model may look different from school to school or Trust to Trust. A SENCo may work in one school or across schools or Trusts. They must have the time and resources to be able to carry out SENCo duties. For example, not have too large a teaching commitment. The Head Teacher must review any arrangement to make sure it is effective to meet the expectations.

In special schools every teacher will carry out the duties of a SENCo.


Mainstream colleges should have a named person in charge of support for students with SEND.