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

Winwood, Jo (2013). Policy into practice: the changing role of the special educational needs coordinator in England. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3981


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year