Role of Early Years Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

The role of the Early Years SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) is crucial to ensure settings have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities. Another aspect that is important is supporting colleagues and co-ordinating the response of the setting to children with SEN.

The Role of the SENCO Involves:


  1. Ensuring all practioners in the setting understand their responsibilities to children with SEN and the settings's approach to identifying and meeting SEN

The SENCO should support practitioners in understanding their responsibilities to young children with SEN and disabilities by disseminating current legislation.  

The SEND and Equalities legislation should be embedded throughout the settings practices and evident in the settings policies and procedures. The SENCO should ensure the setting has policies to help and guide all staff working in the setting regarding SEND and Equality. The policies and procedures must demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and the entitlement of all children to learn and develop. 

      2. Advising and supporting colleagues

The SENCO has a role in leading and co-ordinating the graduated approach across the setting and supporting individual practitioners in implementing the approach for individual children. In particular, the SENCO needs to ensure that all practitioners understand how the setting:

  • responds to any cause for concern, identifies and supports individuals with special educational needs
  • focuses on improving children’s progress and outcomes
  • implements SEN support and the graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do, review
  • meets the requirements for record-keeping in a way that supports the participative decision-making process
  • how the setting works in partnership with parents to identify a child as having SEN
  • how the practitioner and the SENCO agree, in consultation with the parent, the outcomes they are seeking for the child
  • how plans for support, within the setting, should take into account the views of the child

The SENCO also has an important role in working with colleagues to identify and address staff development needs within the setting. To meet these needs SENCOs should link with Area SENCOs who have a role in supporting the development and delivery of training both for individual settings and on a wider basis. 

      3. Ensuring parents are closely involved throughout and that their insights inform action taking by the settings

The SENCO is responsible for making sure that parents are involved in the discussion of any early concerns, in identifying any SEN, and agreeing:

  • the outcomes they are seeking for the child
  • the interventions and support to be put in place
  • the expected impact on progress, development, behaviour
  • date for review

Parents’ insights should inform action taken by the setting and they should feel that their wishes, views and feelings are taken into account.  SENCOs can help by making sure parents receive the information, advice and support that they need in order to participate in the SEN decision-making process. 

As part of the role it is vital that the SENCO is allocated time during the week to coordinate the settings SEND support and fulfil their coordinator role.


Last update: Monday 4th of November 2019 03:54:16 PM