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The role of SENCOs - SENCO Guide

The role of the SENCO in primary and secondary schools is clearly described in Section 6 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25.

A SENCO is a staff member at a school or educational setting who is responsible for overseeing provision for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The key roles and responsibilities of a SENCO include:

  • Coordinating support and education plans for students with SEND
  • Liaising with parents of children with SEND
  • Advising fellow teachers on SEND best practices and strategies
  • Managing teaching assistants and support staff
  • Overseeing implementation of the SEND policy
  • Monitoring effectiveness of SEND provisions
  • Maintaining accurate SEND records
  • Referring students for specialised assessments when needed
  • Staying up to date on SEND developments and training

The Local Offer

The Plymouth Local Offer (this website) is a key tool for information and advice for families, as well as a key tool for planning in the local area.

Each school has an entry on the Local Offer, this can be found by using the search engine. Schools are able to access and update their own information. If you wish to update your school's entry or are unable to find the entry, please contact the Local Offer Team.

The Local Offer also contains detailed advice about what schools are expected to provide for pupils with and without EHC plans.

Within the Local Offer, you will also find information for a number of SEND teams with the council.

Local Authority Guidance

Remote learning

Free bus travel

The national bus pass entitles the pass holder to free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in England.  The pass applies to children who are disabled.  If you are asked by a family to provide supporting evidence, or you think a child or young person would benefit from a pass, please read Plymouth City Council's guidance.

Mental Health and Wellbeing 

Please find below a range of guidance and tools that can support taking a whole school approach to the promotion of positive mental health along with meeting the needs of pupils at school with social, emotional, and mental health needs (SEMH).

Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT)

Get support with Early Help and use the Early Help Assessment Tool

Working with your SEN Governor

All governing bodies have legal duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 and must have regard to the statutory guidance, 'the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years' as detailed in the governance handbook.

It is expected that the SENCO will work closely with the identified SEND governor to enable the governing body to fulfil their responsibilities in relation to SEND. The SENCO will report regularly to the governing body, proactively ensuring they are informed regarding strategic developments linked to SEND.


Schools' data is collected three times per year (autumn, spring and summer terms). This data is used to shape national policy and practice. It is vital that SENCOs refer to the census guidance (updated annually) and work with their data team to ensure that pupils are coded correctly.

The Statistical First Release provides a breakdown of the census information based on data from the census. 

SEND Census Guidance

SEND Census Guidance V1 (PDF) [155KB]

Strategic planning and self-evaluation

A key aspect of the SENCO's role is to devise and lead the vision for inclusion. There are a number of helpful self-evaluation tools that support SENCOs and other school leaders in understanding strengths and weaknesses in the provision on the NASEN SEND Gateway website.

Education Endowment Fund (EEF)

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children and young people from all backgrounds can make the most of their talents. In particular, the Teaching and Learning Tool Kit looks at the impact of interventions based on research evidence.

National Professional Qualification for SENCOs

In September 2009, it became law for every new SENCO to gain the masters-level National Award for SEN Coordination within three years of taking up the post. For further information, please see the SEN Code of practice (6.85 - 6.86)

In February 2024, it was confirmed that a national professional qualification for SENCOs is to replace the existing qualification, as originally announced in the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan.

The NPQ is due to commence in September 2024, and here you will find further details about the Special educational needs co-ordinator's national professional qualification .


The SEND Hub is a practitioner-led network that offers opportunities for continuing professional development. The SEND Hub is led by Celina Cox. For details of the upcoming meetings and events, please email or visit the Plymouth Teaching Schools website.

Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants

A range of resources, research and guidance linked to the deployment of teaching assistants.

Outreach and alternative provision 

More information


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Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:

 Plymouth Local Offer homepage



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