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Applying For A Senco Post!


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Hi -

One of our members is interested in applying for a job as an area SENCO. At the moment she doesn't really want to declare her interest publically, but would like help and advice from others here to work out whether she has enough experience - so I'm acting as a proxy. :o I know there are a number of SENCOs amongst you, so hopefully you can give her some good practical advice.


Let's call her Xena! :D


Xena has a great deal of experience as a reception teacher and a great commitment to the foundation stage of education. She has had good experience of special needs children in her classroom and has a sensitivity towards the requirements of parents, teachers, practitioners and children in the SEN environment, and she feels that, although she has no formal SEN training under her belt, she would be able to cope with the learning curve involved in becoming specifically SEN orientated.


What do you think? What are the most important aspects of a SENCO role that she should be concerned with? I'd be grateful for views from any with experience in the field!



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Oh gosh< i'm not qualified to comment really.


But if that person has the committment (so important) and the ability (which she obviously has), I would hvae no qualms about her working with my own special needs child. If she has diplomacy and empathy, these are the two most important qualities.


I speak as a parent, on this, not as a professional (or maybe as both). We can never have too many special needs specialists!! We also need to go for specialists at the upper end of the achievement spectrum - also special needs, but often forgotten.


Go for it. support it.


Diane (feeling very strongly about right things at present)

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Hi Steve

In my area they have had to recruit a couple of area SENco's. From what i can work out they have in house training. I also think one of them was the SENco at their setting. I personally think as long as a childcare professional has a good knowledge of child development they are half way there.

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I ididn't have any training when I applied for my present job and I've been there 10 yeras.


I would say that an empathy with children and parents asswell as an active interest in special neds would be enough qualifications. Honestly, she would pick up loads along the way and probably has more know how that she thinks already!


Give it a whirl.. Any extra experience is always beneficial.


Is she local, 'cos I'd be happy to show her round our school or have a chatabout special needs, although I know nothing as a SENCO, only as an SEN teacher!


Good Luck Xena :o

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Steve, I too think it is a job where you learn after you are appointed. As long as the basics ie. empathy, ability to communicate with children and Parents. knowledge of IEPs and how to write them, who to contact if further help is needed, how to assess, then I think she should go for it. Really sell herself at interview.

Good luck Xena! :o


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I would advise Xena to get hold of a copy of the most recent SEN Code of Practice, and the accompanying SEN toolkit (available from the DfES,- 0845 60 222 60, quoting reference DfES 558/2001). These will give her a flavour of all the SEN procedures that settings adopt, and she'll begin to learn the jargon :)

At the back of my copy, there is a website listed:



It's worth a look, too. :)

I have a friend who is a SENCO, covering three schools; I'll ask her to add some comments, here.


Is Xena's job for a SENCO covering a certain number of schools, or is it a type of advisory position?

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Good question, Xena. If you let me know when you've received the application details it would be useful to know what the job spec and requirements are. It seems (something I hadn't been aware of previously) from what the others here have said, that the role of SENCO differs greatly, and presumably the qualifications will also vary?

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It really depends on what the requirements of the job are and who else applies. I would agree with Helen, that knowledge of the code of practice will almost certainly be an essential requirement but what you dont know, you should be able to read up on it time, or ask people who do know for the buzz terminology. B eclear when you apply how you meet each of the person specs and that should guarentee you an interview. And one peice of advice that has helped me was a Head who told me that men will apply for a job even if they only meet 25% of the person spec whereas women tend to think they they have to meet at least 90% before they condsider applying. So dont be put off if you dont meet them all!

Xena, if you want it, go for it, you may not get it first time, but then you just keep trying..... :D

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Hi people -

On behalf of Xena, here are some of the job details, which I hope some of you can comment on:


Main purpose of job:

•To provide advice and support to practitioners in the private and voluntary sectors in meeting the needs of children with SEN and disabilities.

•To contribute to the Early Years Development & Childcare Partnership (EYDCP) targets for training in equality and inclusion.

•To make appropriate contributions to in-service education in equality and inclusion to practitioners in Early Years and Childcare.


After this there are a lot of skills and abilities which are very general - then there is a knowledge, experience and qualifications section, which doesn't sound too scary, from what I know of Xena's background, (although I don't know about things like recent attendance at conferences etc):


Knowledge of early childhood development.


Knowledge and understanding of the current educational developments in the Foundation Stage Curriculum, and the support needed for children with SEN and disabilities;

• Curriculam and assessment;

• Monitoring and evaluation;

• Staff and management development.


Demonstrates an understanding of what constitutes a quality service.


Ability to implement the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy.


Experience of supporting young children with special educational needs.


Experience of providing training.


Experience of liaising with families.


Experience of offering advice/support about the Foundation Stage Curriculum, SEN and disabilities to colleagues in early years and childcare.


Experience of working in a multicultural setting.



Qualified teacher.


Successfully undertaken extended professional study.


Recent attendance at a variety of INSET courses.


Xena has indicated that she's likely to apply for the job, and thanks you for all your suggestions and advice!

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