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The DfE has announced the new NPQ for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinators (SENCOs), where you can gain essential knowledge and skills to perform a SENCO role effectively and set the strategic direction of SEND policy in a school. 

Transition to national professional qualification for special educational needs co-ordinators - GOV.UK (

The course is primarily aimed at those in a mandatory SENCO role. It may also benefit: 

  • Those aspiring to be a SENCO in the near future, whether or not they have secured a role yet
  • Those in a non-statutory SENCO role, for example in an independent school, special school, alternative provision setting or 16-19 organisation. Staff in these roles may not have QTS, but you do not need to have QTS to undertake this NPQ.
  • Staff who support the SENCO, either formally as a deputy SENCO or leading a particular area of SEND provision within the school
  • Line managers of SENCOs or other senior leaders with responsibility for curriculum, behaviour, pastoral needs or managing provision
  • Those who work outside of a school setting but work closely with SENCOs, e.g. in a local authority

Non-leadership roles

Classroom teachers with an interest in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) may benefit from the course in some circumstances, for example, if they have aspirations to move into a coordinating or leadership role.

However, it is important to note that this is a leadership qualification and courses will include significant content around the strategic element of the SENCO role, including working with and through others.

If your primary interest is in individual skills to support students with SEND in your own classroom, other courses may be more suitable such as the NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture.

Apply here!

Programme Breakdown

The NPQ for SENCOs is a leadership level qualification designed for SENCOs or those aspiring to undersake a SENCO role in the future, and teachers/leaders interested in developing expertise in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Designed with busy school leaders in mind, the NPQ for SENCOs is delivered using a blend of online seminars, flexible online learning and face-to-face conferences.

How will I learn?

You will develop and deepen leadership skills and knowledge built upon the latest evidence-based research.

Modules include:

  • School culture
  • Implementation
  • Statutory framework
  • Identification and assessment
  • Teaching
  • Behaviour
  • Partnership working
  • Leading and managing provision
  • Professional development

How will I benefit?

  • Gain a nationally recognised SENCO qualification to excel as a leader of SEND

  • Support the delivery, implementation and impact of a strong SEND provision for pupils with SEND and their families

  • Build and expand your network by training with other SENCOs from similar school contexts

  • Collaborate with and develop colleagues’ skills to enable them to effectively adapt curriculum planning to meet the needs of all pupils

  • Implement an efficient SEND identification process, ensuring barriers to learning are identified and addressed at the earliest opportunity

Please see here for the NPQ funding announcement