Tags: SEN – Special Educational Needs | SENCO | Standards

The sweeping reforms outlined in the controversial white paper* on educational reform raise questions about the role of SENCOs within a system which envisages self-governing ‘trust’ schools. These proposals, intended to lead to parliamentary legislation in the new year, are likely to have considerable implications for SENCOs.

These include their role in developing personalised learning, particularly for children whom the white paper describes as ‘falling behind’ and children with special educational needs and disabilities. Proposals for the altered status of LEAs, which currently provide support for SENCOs in assessment, specialist teaching and professional development, are also clearly relevant.

The white paper proposes to ‘enable every school to become a self-governing trust school, with the benefit of external drive and new freedoms, mirroring the successful experience of academies’. Trust schools, like foundation schools, will employ their own staff, control their own assets and set their own admissions arrangements.

However, the national curriculum, the assessment regime, the Code of Practice on admissions and all of the accountability mechanisms that apply to state schools will still need to be observed. This presumably will include the SEN and Disability Codes of Practice, though these are not specifically mentioned in the white paper.

*Higher Standards, Better Schools For All can be downloaded from: www.dfes.gov.uk

This article first appeared in SENCO Update – Dec 2005

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