The Role of the SENCO
The role of the SENCO in early years’ settings is clearly stated in the SEND Code of Practice (DfE 2014).
The SENCO has responsibility for:
- Ensuring liaison with parents and other professionals regarding a child with special educational needs or disability once concerns have been raised.
- Making referrals to other professionals/services following LA and agency procedures.
- Liaison with the child’s Lead Professional within the Early Help Assessment process.
- Ensuring that an appropriate cycle of action is in place for children with SEND, the aim being to meet the needs of the child so that progress is made in the most appropriate and individual way. The SENCO is not solely responsible for delivering Individual Education Plan (IEP)s.
- Ensuring that relevant information about individual children with SEND is collected, recorded and updated. This may include observations, targeted plans, or reports from other agencies.
- Planning future support for the child after discussions with colleagues and other professionals.
- Keeping records of children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
- Monitoring and reviewing at each stage throughout the graduated approach.
- Transferring information to the relevant nursery or school when the child moves on (parental permission required).
- Advising and supporting other practitioners in the setting and disseminating information from training they have attended.
Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as SENCo and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or network may wish to share that role between them.
New guidance (18th January 2022)
The Department for Education has published new guidance documents to support early years SENCos.
The guidance describes the role of the early years SENCo and set out the level 3 SENCo qualification specification. The link to these documents is: Early years level 3 SENCo - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Supporting Children with Autism
When supporting children with Autism in the classroom/setting, it is important to consider all aspects of the environment and how we interact with children. The downloads below, created by the National Autism Society, may give you ideas on how to improve things for children with or without Autism. As SENCO, you may decide to perform an environment learning walk to assess the level of Autism awareness within your setting and identify areas for improvement.
Supporting Children with Sensory Processing Needs
For those working with children who have sensory processing difficulties, a resource pack produced by the Children's Occupational Therapy Service is available to download from the featured downloads at the bottom of this page. The resource, 'Sensory Processing Dysfunction' will help you to identify why a child is having difficulties and will help to provide guidance as well as some ideas on how you can support children with sensory processing needs. The pack is suitable for children of all ages.