SENCo Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) is responsible for providing school children with disabilities and special educational needs with the support required to help them complete their education. Their duties include supervising the teaching of children with disabilities and special educational needs in classrooms, training teachers to work with disabled students and identifying children with special educational needs.  

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SENCo duties and responsibilities

SENCos are responsible for ensuring that children with learning difficulties and disabilities have the opportunity to reach their full educational potential, despite the challenges they face. SENCos have a mixture of teaching duties and leadership responsibilities. Their main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that school policies and procedures are in line with the latest governmental SEN policies and regulations
  • Making sure that school Teachers have the knowledge and skills to carry out SEN policies and to teach children with special learning requirements to a high standard
  • Ensuring that the school is equipped with adequate equipment and facilities for special educational needs, including wheelchair accessibility and audio-visual learning aids
  • Preparing and leading SEN training for Teachers and Teaching Assistants
  • Assessing the specific educational needs of children with learning disabilities and providing recommendations for their support
  • Producing regular reports and updates on the educational progress of children to Senior Teachers and parents
  • Providing one-on-one teaching support to children with learning difficulties in the classroom
  • Providing referrals for children to receive support outside of school hours, from Therapists, Medical Specialists or Tutors 
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What does a SENCo do?

A SENCo is responsible for developing and implementing a school’s SEN (Special Educational Needs) policy to support the teaching of children with special educational needs. Children with special educational needs include those with physical disabilities, such as hearing or sight problems, and those with special learning needs, such as dyslexia or autism. 

A SENCo is employed in a leadership position to supervise the teaching practices of Special Educational Needs Teachers and Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistants. A SENCo liaises directly with Head Teachers, Heads of Departments and School Governors to ensure that the school’s SEN policies are in line with national standards and provide for children with unique learning requirements. 

SENCo skills and qualifications

SENCos are qualified Teachers with a set of specific teaching skills developed to support children with special educational needs. SENCos also require leadership skills and the ability to supervise and assess other Teachers in a classroom environment. A successful SENCo candiadte will also have various prerequisite  skills and qualifications that include:

  • Knowledge of local and national SEN policies, including expert knowledge of the UK’s Equality Act
  • Emotional capacity to work with and improve the lives of children who have unique and challenging requirements
  • Ability to develop new lesson plans and support procedures for teaching children with special education needs
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to influence the decisions of key Policymakers to develop an SEN-compliant teaching environment, including Senior Teachers and School Governors
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to legally be allowed to work with children
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  • National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (NASENCo) qualification

SENCo experience requirements

SENCos require a minimum of three years of experience teaching in a UK classroom, with at least one year spent in a Supervisor role as the head of a subject or department. Employers need candidates with experience teaching children with special educational needs, which candidates often gain through work as a Special Educational Needs Teacher or Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant earlier in their career. 

SENCOs education and training requirements

SENCos require a minimum of five GCSEs and three A-levels, including strong results in English and maths. Employers need to look for candidates with Teacher training, which can be gained through a postgraduate course in teaching. SENCos also require SEN training, which can be provided through schools or courses offered by the National Association of Special Educational Needs.

SENCo salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a SENCos is [no salary data available]. Salary may be dependent on experience, location and company. 

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SENCo job description FAQs

Are schools in the UK required to employ a SENCo?

SENCo positions are a requirement in all publicly funded schools in the United Kingdom. Employers need to ensure that they employ a Teacher with the right experience and skills to meet government regulations. However, many employers also employ a SENCo to work across multiple schools if the demand for SEN teaching is low in an area. 

What makes for a great SENCo job description?

A great SENCo job description provides potential candidates with an overview of the school, or schools, where they will be working. Providing details on the type of school, whether it’s a private, public, grammar, state or a special educational needs school gives candidates an idea of the teaching and work environment they’ll become part of if successful. 

What's the difference between a SENCo and an SEN Teacher?

SENCos are employed in a leadership role and have responsibility for the overall SEN policies of a school. SEN Teachers have a similar skill set, however, their focus is the day-to-day teaching of children with special educational needs in a classroom setting. 

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