The special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)

Be clear on who the SENCO can be in your school, and find out what their responsibilities are and how you're involved.

Last reviewed on 22 September 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 38664
  1. Mainstream schools must have a SENCO
  2. Who can be a SENCO?
  3. What professional qualifications do SENCOs need?
  4. Responsibilities of the SENCO

Mainstream schools must have a SENCO

You must make sure your school has a qualified teacher who’s designated as SENCO if you're:

  • A maintained school 
  • An academy 
  • A free school
  • An alternative provision (AP) academy  
  • A pupil referral unit (PRU)
  • A maintained nursery (other early years providers are also expected to have one)

These requirements are outlined on pages 88 to 92, and 108 of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice.

Other school types are also encouraged to have a SENCO

Your school is not required to have a SENCO if you're: 

  • An independent school 
  • A special school
  • A 16 to 19 academy 

But it's still recommended that your school has a qualified teacher responsible for overseeing and co-ordinating SEN provision.

Who can be a SENCO?

Your school’s SENCO must be: 

  • A qualified teacher working at the school, or
  • The headteacher, or acting headteacher, of the school

Be a part-time member