I had a new experience today. I was asked a few months ago to join a national advisory group for SENCos. I took a train; a welcome change from the usual drive, even thought I was exhausted from the school production the night before.
I love watching people, probably part of the job! The commuters on their daily train journeys, reading papers, using laptops, trying to be anonymous… That’s what I wanted to be: anonymous.
And I managed it! Two hours of reading and contemplation. No pressure, for once!
Anyway, the meeting was fascinating: professors, DCSF civil servants, SENCos and other professionals. It was a bit of a ‘who’s who’ of inclusion research and practice. I was a little excited, I have to say!
Discussions centred on the DCSF consultation on the role of the SENCo; an interesting topic indeed.
As we were all keen volunteers and passionate practitioners, it was clearly a discussion on which many of us shared ideas: SENCos should be on the senior leadership team of the school; they should have sufficient time to undertake their jobs effectively; adequate training for new colleagues needs to be well coordinated and accredited, etc.
The SENCo role was due for a significant ‘shake up’, though I fear that the review will stop well short of what we, as hard-working SENCos, feel the outcome should be.
All we can do is respond, however, and in as greater numbers as possible to add increased weight. Unfortunately, with the recommendations looking as though they will fall short of what is really needed, maybe we will have to continue to do so as individuals as opposed to a large and supportive network.
Links with colleagues is one of the most valuable resources I have. Today I have made several new and very influential contacts. A good day; one that will pay off in the future, I am positive.
Networking is a banded term, but essential for the modern SENCo. As I return home − on a train journey that seems even longer that on the way out − I consider my options and opportunities.
No doubt readers will be privy to these soon enough…