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Effective SENCO : meeting the challengeThe co-ordination of special educational provision in schools is multi-faceted and challenging. New legislation in England, the Children and Families Act, introduced in September 2014, strengthens and extends the legal requirement to ensure the availability and effective co-ordination of high quality provision for special needs and disabilities (SEND) in schools and, for the first time, in further education colleges. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0–25 years (DfE, 2014a) is an overt component of central government policy in the area of special educational needs with its status of statutory guidance. Teachers in schools and colleges continue to be expected to provide effective learning opportunities for all their pupils, including those who have special educational needs and disabilities. Schools, colleges and other settings have clear duties under the statutory guidance of the new Code and must ‘have regard’ to its contents. They should do what it says or be able to explain why they have not done so and explain the alternative provision that has been made. It is no longer sufficient, however, simply to ensure that young people with SEND have access to an appropriate education. Instead, Section 19(d) of Part 3 of the 2014 Children and Families Act specifies access that enables young people to ‘achieve the best possible’ educational and other outcomes. This reflects a new and higher level of outcome required by law. Effective co-ordination of SEND provision therefore continues to be high priority for senior management teams, governors, parents and politicians. School governors also have particular responsibilities towards young people with SEND in schools. Section 66 of the 2014 Act contains a key duty on the governing body of a school – and this includes the proprietors or management committee where relevant – to use their ‘best endeavours’ to secure special educational provision for all children or young people for whom they are responsible. It is essential that all involved understand what ‘having’ a special educational need or disability means for the young person and his or her family, and what addressing such needs and disabilities entails in schools. At the same time the requirement for all new special educational needs and disability co-ordinators (SENCOs) to take the National Award for SEN Co-ordination (NASC) has remained in place. Included in the new learning outcomes of the NASC which have been revised in light of the recent amendments to the law is a revision of what is required in terms of professional knowledge and understanding for the SENCO role. This book was therefore designed as an accessible, well-theorised and practical resource to help new and experienced SENCOs and those in training to carry out their duties in supporting the development and improvement of SEND provision from a thoughtful and confident position that is very well informed in current legislation, practice, theory and critical understanding of the issues in the field. It therefore provides a well-balanced and accessible overview of the following: * the new (2014) legislation related to SEND provision and the new SEND Code of Practice and the implications for schools and colleges, and the role of the SENCO in particular; * key challenges of the SENCO role, as identified by experienced, effective, practising SENCOs, and how these might be addressed; * what SENCOs really need to know and what they can and should do in order to co-ordinate provision for SEND properly and effectively. It also comprehensively covers the (2014) learning outcomes of the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination. Current legislation promotes the inclusion of (almost) all young people in mainstream schools and colleges. However, this has to be implemented within a national context of school and college ‘improvement’ and competition and market-oriented practices where young people with SEND may not be able to contribute positively to a school’s position on league tables of achievement. Such challenges are not necessarily insurmountable, however, and the book discusses the debates and dilemmas and offers practical suggestions to address these.