According to Cowne and Jones 2001 a SENCO can be looked upon as a main figure in making institutional change, and is also seen as a leadership role within a school community. Supporting this is Mckenzie 2007 who also points out that the role of SENCO undertaken by a senior member of staff is more effective as they have a voice as member of senior management team. Government and legislative documents emphasise the high level of expertise that is required for SEN Coordinators (SENCOs) to carry out their increasingly complex role.
The 2001 Code of practice says that he SENCO should take the lead in further assessment of the child’s particular strengths and weaknesses; in planning future support for the child in discussion with colleagues; and in monitoring and afterwards reviewing the action taken. The SENCO should also ensure that appropriate records are kept including a record of children at Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus and those with statements.
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From the SEN Code of Practice 2001 the role of the educational needs coordinator in school has attracted a good deal of attention since the Code of Practice on the identification and assessment of SEN was introduced in 1994. Not only did the code make it a requirement for all schools to have a named coordinator for SEN in place, it prescribed a considerable range of duties and responsibilities, described as ‘onerous’ and ‘breathtaking broad’ (Gains 1994).
The role of SENCO has developed considerably since the implementation of Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 1994. The demands and responsibilities have increased significantly. The SENCO’s role now has also evolved to be a lead professional, knowledge/information manager and advocate, resource manager, partnership manager, quality assuror, facilitator, and solution assembler.
In mainstream primary schools the key responsibilities of SENCO has evolved as they now need to include overseeing the day to day operation of the schools policy, coordinating provision for children with special educational needs, liaising with and advising fellow teachers, managing learning support assistants, overseeing the records of all children with SEN, liaising with parents, contributing to the in-service training of staff, liaising with external agencies including LEA’s support and educational psychology services, health and social services and voluntary bodies (Cheminais 2005).
Other roles carried out by the SENCO include encouraging class teachers and helping define targets on I. E. P. s for those children who are registered on the SEN register, along with the reviews on a half term basis, looking at behaviour issues of children throughout the school, monitoring the attendance of children, managing support staff, assisting the teacher with their planning to in cooperate differentiated work for the SEN children and liaising with parents and external agencies to help with the progression of children within the setting.
Nolan and Gersch 1996 agreed that close communication and co-operation, and a clear understanding of responsibilities are crucial to the success of partnership between the school and outside agencies and the SENCO is the link between them. Cole 2005 concludes by arguing that the role of the SENCO needs to be reconceptualised, redefined and remunerated as a senior management post within mainstream schools. If this were to be enforced by national policy, every mainstream school could have at least one powerful advocate for inclusion of the children with learning difficulties/disabilities.
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