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The Savvy SENCo by Beccie Hawes

Are you a SENCo? Beccie Hawes shares some top tips and reflections to help you with the demanding but ultimately rewarding role of SENCo.

Posted on Friday 09th December 2022

The role of the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) is arguably one of the very best jobs in the world. You get to work with unique, amazing and inspirational children in the hope of making a positive difference to help them achieve the brightest possible tomorrow.

However, the role of SENCo can also be challenging.

Part of the role includes multi-tasking, wading through forests of paperwork, dealing with a wealth of statutory guidance, managing a range of professionals, supporting whole families through some potentially difficult situations, offering advice and support, being creative and often working with limited resources.

Here are some top tips and reflections to help you with this demanding but ultimately rewarding role.

1. Remember that you can’t do everything.

Your role is that of strategic lead – to support and do with, not for. Think about how you can empower your colleagues and support them to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to support their pupils with SEND.

2. Revisit Section F of your pupils’ Education and Health Care Plans.

This is statutory provision which schools must make their ‘best endeavours’ to provide. It can be helpful to break this down into quality first teaching strategies and withdrawal interventions. This will help you to plan staffing, timetable and deploy resources. Find a way to share this information with all relevant staff.

3. Keep exploring and analysing your SEN register.

Look for themes, groups and trends. This can help you to identify what resources are required to meet your pupils’ needs and the support and continued professional development staff may require.

4. Make sure your provision map remains a live document.

Know which interventions you can offer right now and forecast what you may need in future based on the emerging needs of your SEN register and what your pupil performance and SEN reviews are telling you.

5. Keep your network strong and varied.

Take every opportunity to work with a range of professionals from a variety of agencies. Their support, advice and perspective can be so valuable. Look for a variety of voices from social media, podcasts and blogs.

6. Reach out to your families and be creative about how you do it.

Not all families find it easy to come into school. Remember that you may well be the one that they vent their upset and frustrations at as they accompany their child on their SEN journey. It isn’t personal but often a sign of their trust in you.

7. Find your good news stories and share them.

Identify what you do well and the strategic decisions you have made that created a positive effect and how you will maintain this longer term. Think about how you can disseminate this good practice throughout your school.

8. Your mantra!

Stick to and shout about the mantra of early identification and intervention.

9. Sharing is caring!

Attending SEN events such as The Autism Show, The Dyslexia Show and NASEN Live to network with other SENCos, learn about new resources, hear about the latest research and share ideas and approaches are crucial. Not only will they further develop your practice; they will offer a valuable head space to reflect and refresh.

10. Look after yourself!

The SENco role is amazing but demanding – you can’t pour from an empty cup.

With many thanks to Beccie Hawes for writing this blog.

Beccie has worked in all aspects of Special Educational Needs including mainstream, additionally resourced provision and specialist settings. She has extensive experience as a SENCo, Inclusion Manager, Lead Local Authority SEND Advisory Teacher and has set up and led an inclusion advisory service. Beccie is currently proud to be the Head of Service with Cadmus Inclusive part of Cadmus Services, based in Walsall.

Beccie Hawes - SEND expert


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