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Policy into practice: the changing role of the special educational needs coordinator in England

Winwood, Jo (2013)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This study explores the experiences of being a SENCO in mainstream schools in England. It examines how the role is operationalized and compares this to the guidance offered by national policy documents, such as the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES, 2001b). These issues were investigated through a questionnaire and in depth semi structured interviews with SENCOs working in primary and secondary school settings. The development of the SENCO role as a leader or manager is explored, including the potential benefits and limitations of such an approach. The relational aspect of SEN with pupils, staff and parents is also explored along with pressures and expectations placed on SENCOs by the current education system.

Findings suggest that a SENCO will find a particular way of interpreting and responding to the needs of the role, which cannot easily be defined as either a leader or manager. This is influenced by not only by national guidelines and school based pressures, but also by the values that SENCOs have. Many SENCOs valued the interactional nature of the SENCO role, whether that is with pupils, staff and colleagues. Most wanted to maintain this aspect of the role, but increase the opportunities they had to influence strategic responses to learning and teaching across the school, as well as increasing the involvement of colleagues in SEN related issues.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Visser, John (1946-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:LC Special aspects of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3981
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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