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 you 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.
- 0 to 25 SEND Statutory Assessment Team
They coordinate the statutory support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
- The Communication Interaction Team
They work with children and young people who have speech, language and communication needs. This also includes children and young people on the autism spectrum.
- The Early Years Inclusion Service
They work with pre-school children aged 0-5 years with additional needs and/or disabilities.
- Educational Psychology Service
They support the educational progress, development, mental health and wellbeing of children and young people from 0-25 years with complex special educational needs and, or a disability.
- SEND Children's Occupational Therapy Service
They provide support and services to children and young people (up to age 18) and their families, with permanent, substantial and/or complex physical disabilities.
- Children's Disability Team
They provide support for disabled children and young people, their families and carers.
- Plymouth Advisory Team for Sensory Support (PATSS)
They help children and young people (CYP) with a sensory impairment by supporting and enabling independent learning and the development of appropriate life skills.
- Early Help SEND Advice Line
Can be used for any general information, advice and support that relates to a child pre-birth through to 18 years of age (or 25 in relation to SEND matters).
- Virtual school
A service provided to promote and support the education of looked-after children (children in care) and care leavers.
- Plymouth Children's Safeguarding Board
Responsible for improving the wellbeing of children in the area
- SEND useful contacts for schools
Local Authority Guidance
- Dyslexia best practice guidance for schools
- Auditory Processing Difficulties (APD)
- Reduced timetables (advice for schools)
- In-year admissions guidance
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 with 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).
- Mental Health and Behaviour in schools
- Behaviour and Discipline in schools
- Promoting emotional health and wellbeing
- Children and Young People's Mental Health (Academy of Social Work Plymouth)
- Mentally Healthy Schools - A comprehensive range of tools and resources for Primary and Secondary schools
- MindEd - A free educational resource for professionals
- YoungMinds - UK's leading Charity for Children and young people's mental health
- Anna Freud
- Our Time
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
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 to understand strengths and weakness 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 intervention based on research evidence.
The National Award for Special Educational Needs
In September 2009 in became law for every new SENCO to gain the masters-level National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years of taking up the post. For further information please see the SEN Code (6.85 - 6.86). Plymouth City Council works in partnership with Plymouth University to deliver the Award.
A national professional qualification for SENCOs is replacing the existing qualification, as announced in the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan. Teaching of the national professional qualification will begin in autumn 2024. Find out more about the mandatory qualification for SENCOs.
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 meeting and events please email email@example.com 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
- Plymouth Primary Nurture
- Quay Partnership Plymouth
- ACE Schools
- Alternative Education Framework settings - Full opening guidance for schools
- SENCO Induction Pack at Nasen SEND Gateway
- Joint Council for Qualifications
- Person Centred Practice- Helen Sanderson associates
- Teacher Handbook launched to support schools to embed inclusive practice
Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:
- Early years (0 to 5 years old)
- Primary (5 to 11 years old)
- Secondary (11 to 18 years old)
- Preparing for adulthood
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