Things To Know About the Role of a SENCO
What is a SENCO?
A SENCo, which stands for Special Educational Needs Coordinator, is the key leader in supporting students with special educational needs and/or disabilities at their primary or secondary school. The SENCo works to ensure these students receive the right teaching and learning support tailored to their individual requirements. They assist teachers with planning and adaptive teaching in lessons, advising on teaching strategies, managing learning support staff, and liaising with outside agencies.
The overall goal of the SENCo is to help students with additional needs achieve their full academic potential and have a positive, inclusive, educational experience. The job is really challenging and a project by Bath Spa University raised concerns that the role has expanded in responsibility. The education system desperately needs staff in schools that are passionate about supporting children with SEN but please go into the interview with your eyes open. These elements will inform the answers to your interview questions.
Is a SENCO a School Leader
Yes! A SENCO needs to be part of the leadership team, to do their job properly they need the authority to make a significant impact and hold staff to account. This enables them to drive positive change and ensure that the needs of every student are met effectively. With strong leadership backing, the SENCO can inspire and bring about transformation in the school community, ensuring an inclusive and supportive environment for all children.
To ensure a smooth and effective implementation of support for special educational needs, it is vital for the SENCO to hold a prominent and respected position within the school. Recognising the importance of the role, schools should empower their SENCOs by providing them with the status and influence they deserve (Ask about your position within the school if it is not clear).
What are The Key Responsibilities of a SENCO?
For a SENCO the SEN Code of Practice is your bible. It outlines legally what the role entails and the far-reaching areas of influence within the school and how your role fits into the local inclusion program. In May 2023 the government announced its SEND and alternative provision improvement plan, it is worth having a read of this before your SENCO interview for an idea of the national strategy for inclusion and SEN. These are key responsibilities of a SENCO outlined in The SEN Code of Practice.
- Governing bodies and academy proprietors must designate a qualified SENCO for the school.
- The SENCO must be a qualified teacher at the school. A new SENCO must achieve a National Award in SEN Coordination within 3 years. (Soon to be a Leadership NPQ)
- SENCO’s have an important strategic role in the school’s SEN policy and provision and should be part of the leadership team.
- The SENCO has day-to-day responsibility for SEN policy implementation and coordinating support for pupils with SEN.
- Key SENCO responsibilities include: overseeing SEN policy, coordinating SEN provision, advising on SEN support/budgets, liaising with parents/professionals, ensuring Equalities Act compliance, and record keeping.
- SENCOs should have sufficient time and support to fulfil their role. Small primaries can share a SENCO but this should be regularly reviewed.
SENCO Interview Questions
The following are example SENCO interview questions that you may get asked. It is essential to research the school first, online is fine but preferably with an initial visit or at least a phone call with one of the leadership team. This will allow you to identify the school’s priorities and shape your answers to them. It will allow you to think about the current challenges and bring solutions as well as build an initial relationship with people who may be on the interview panel.
16 SENCO Interview Questions
This role involves considerable paperwork, staff and parent liaison as well as a teaching component. How good are you at prioritising and meeting deadlines?
What do you understand are the main responsibilities of the SENCO?
What are the top qualities required to be a SENCO?
What is your vision for inclusion at our school?
SEN is a core part of our School Improvement Plan can you tell us about a time you led or contributed to a school improvement initiative or project?
You will need to be able to articulate how whole-school SEN provision is funded. How would you apply for higher needs funding?
Can you tell us about any initiatives you have implemented in your current post that have improved outcomes for pupils with SEND?
What is your understanding of the EHCP process?
Within 3 years you must complete the new NPQSEN (currently NASENCO) how do you approach studying whilst working?
How would you make sure that all teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of children with SEND?
In our school, we currently have 3 ECTs. Which elements of teaching pupils with SEND do you think staff might have the most trouble with? What training could you offer to support them?
When a new pupil starts, how would you assess them?
What would you expect to see from an ‘outstanding’ teacher in relation to SEN provision?
How would you monitor the academic progress of pupils with SEN? What other ways could we measure their progress in different areas?
How would you involve parents and families in the target-setting and the annual review process?
You will work with a governor with responsibility for SEND, can you tell us about a time you have taken part in governor monitoring?
Good Luck With Your SENCO Interview!
We have a number of other posts that will help you ace the SENCO interview questions. The ultimate guide to securing a job in a special school has links to more interview articles and tips that will be applicable to the SENCO recruitment process.