The Role of SENCO  
The Role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2001 describes the importance of the role of the SENCO in all school settings, from pre-school to secondary.
The role of the SENCO in early education settings:
All early education providers, except specialist SEN provision, will need to have an identified member of staff to act as SENCO. This responsibility extends to accredited child-minders who belong to approved networks where the role can be shared between individual childminders and the network co-ordinator. The Early Years SENCO should have responsibility for:
ensuring liaison with parents/carers and other professionals in respect of children with SEN
advising and supporting other practitioners in the setting
ensuring that appropriate Individual Education Plans are in place
ensuring that relevant background information about individual children with SEN is collected, recorded and updated
The role of the SENCO in mainstream primary schools:
The Code says that in mainstream primary schools the SENCO's responsibilities may include:
overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school's SEN policy
co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
liaising with and advising fellow teachers
managing learning support assistants
overseeing the records of all children with SEN
liaising with parents/carers of children with SEN
contributing to the in-service training of staff
liaising with external agencies including the LEA's support and educational psychology services, health and social services, and voluntary bodies
The role of the SENCO in mainstream secondary schools:
The Code says that in mainstream secondary schools the key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:
overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school's SEN policy
liaising with and advising fellow teachers
managing the SEN team of teachers and learning support assistants
co-ordinating provision for pupils with special educational needs
overseeing the records on all pupils with special educational needs
liaising with parents/carers of pupils with special educational needs
contributing to the in-service training of staff
liaising with external agencies including the LEA's support and educational psychology services, health and social services and voluntary bodies
The Code does not go so far as to say how much time needs to be given over to the SENCO's duties. However, it does recognise that all of the above will be time-consuming. The costs of the SENCO should come from the school's core budgets rather than from additional money allocated to meet the needs of individual pupils.
At primary level, many SENCOs will have other responsibilities in the school (perhaps a class teacher) or may only work part-time. The Code suggests that in small schools the Headteacher or deputy Headteacher should only take on the role of SENCO after carefully considering the implications.
In secondary schools the Code suggests that the SENCO role will be the specific responsibility of one member of staff who probably should not have any other school-wide duties.