Exclusive sneak peek at Natalie Packer new Book The Perfect SENCO providing an overview of the issues her book and new course tackle.
“We want to put in place a radically different system to support better life outcomes for young people;give parents confidence by giving them more control;
and transfer power to professionals on the front line and to local communities.”
Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability, 2011
The challenges that SENCOs face include:
- Keeping up to date with what’s happening
- Informing and supporting staff to manage change
- Working with parents
- Implications of personal budgets
- Impact on deployment of TAs
- Practical implications of working with health and social care
- Changes to funding and impact on school budget
- Workload and time
Whilst these challenges may appear quite daunting for some SENCOs, it is important to remember that change can also bring about opportunities:
- Increased influence over decision making at a strategic level
- Enhanced status through membership of the senior leadership team
- Ability to develop the capacity of the school workforce
Whilst pondering the challenges and opportunities, SENCOs are likely to be asking themselves:
‘What are the implications on my role?’
The role of the SENCO can be different from one school to another. However, it is useful to have an outline of general expectations that leaders can use to develop job descriptions and guide performance management discussions and SENCOs can use to provide clarity over their day-to-day work. The SENCO role should involve providing strategic direction and development,
coordinating provision and tracking progress, along with leading and developing others. This places the SENCO right at the heart of the school improvement process, meeting the needs of all pupils whilst providing a specialist focus for those with additional needs.
- Keep up to date with national changes by visiting the SEN section of the DfE website at http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/sen
- Be proactive in developing positive relationships with parents (see chapter 5 for ideas). Working with them could help alleviate some of the potential challenges around personal budgets!
- Become familiar with the 2012 Ofsted framework and make sure you are gathering evidence against each of the four key judgements (see chapter 7 for further guidance)
Natalie Packer is an Osiris Educational presenter as well as a highly-experienced educational consultant specialising in SEN. She previously worked for the National Strategies SEN team supporting the implementation of Achievement for All to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND. Natalie’s training style is practical, interactive and inspiring.
Currently, Natalie presents The Perfect SENCO course for Osiris Educational