The National Award is a mandatory qualification which all SENCos who are new in role must undertake. The law states that SENCos in all mainstream, state-funded English schools must either be “experienced”, hold the award, or be working towards the award. All prospective applicants must refer to the detailed eligibility criteria for the Award which is available on the website.
The training courses are 12 months in duration however SENCos have up to three years from the point at which they are designated as a lead SENCo in which to complete the award. Final responsibility for ensuring the school’s compliance lies with the school’s governing body.
The course is designed to support all SENCos’ professional development, giving them an opportunity to reflect upon and improve their practice whilst learning more about the coordination of special educational needs.
This course will ensure that SENCOs working in a range of settings are able to carry out their responsibilities in relation to key tasks outlined in the SEN Code of Practice (2001) & the SENCO Regulations (2009), including those that focus on ‘day-to-day’ & ‘strategic & leadership’ dimensions of the role. It will also ensure that SENCOs are up-to-date with regard to key changes being made to the SEN system in England. These include major changes to legislation (as set out in the Children and Families Bill introduced to Parliament in the early part of 2013), associated regulations and the new 0-25 SEN Code of Practice (available for consultation in late 2013) due to come into force in September 2014.
The following key components of the new SEN system will be outlined during the course with a consideration of the implications for SENCOs, schools, parents, children and young people:
joint service planning and commissioning
family centred support
the introduction of a clear ‘local offer’
single assessment procedures and Education and Health Care plans
school based Additional SEN Support (‘single category’)
SEN funding (including the delegated and personal budgets)
continuity and transition (pre- and post-school ).
The course will also take account of the work of SEN and Disability Pathfinder projects as they continue to test proposed components of the new SEN system.
Content of the course addresses all of the learning outcomes in the National Award specification & covers:
the role of the SENCO & the statutory framework for SEND (including relevant policy requirements)
effective approaches to identification, assessment & intervention (principles & practice; differentiation – quality first teaching, waves of intervention, individualised education planning)
responding to diversity (areas of need) – cognition & learning; communication & interaction; behaviour, emotional & social difficulties; physical & sensory impairment
pupil participation, parent partnership & inter-service collaboration
inclusive provision management (effective use of human resources & interventions, & evidence based practice)
developing & sustaining effective SEND leadership (preparation for inspection; whole-school initiatives such as Achievement for All)
professional development to improve practice.
Course content is related to specific local contexts (teaching contributions from experts with local knowledge/experience).
As the policy context in which SENCOs carry out their roles evolves - to reflect government priorities - the course will keep participants fully up-to-date with relevant legislative changes, key policy initiatives, emerging research evidence & the implications of these for practice.
The Department for Education has confirmed a further round of funding, for new Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) in 2013-2014 for 800 places only.
The 800 funded places will be allocated to eligible applicants via an online application process and all prospective applicants should visit www.education.gov.uk/sencotraining where full details of the online application process and the list of approved training providers will be available. This information includes details of the University of Birmingham’s collaborative National Award SEN Coordination courses that run in partnership with Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Local Authorities.
The online form will go live on Monday 17th June and will close on Wednesday 17th July. Applicants will be notified by email of the outcome, shortly after this date.
Information required for applications;
SENCos who do not meet the eligibility criteria or who do not succeed in securing a funded place can still self-fund to do the training but the cost for the course will be £1,710
Applicants should be SENCOs with qualified teacher status (QTS) or teachers working in pupil referral units.
Partnership programme – to join one of the partnership cohorts, eligible applicants should be working in one of the relevant local authority areas (Birmingham; Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton; Shropshire; Staffordshire) or be able to travel to one of these areas.
Experienced SENCOs – who do not meet eligibility criteria for funding may also apply for a place on one of the partnership courses.