Guidance: Mandatory Qualifications for Special Educational Needs Coordinators



For school governors, staying abreast of regulatory changes and professional standards is a key part of the role. The Department for Education (DfE) has recently updated guidance on the mandatory qualifications required for SENCOs, information that is essential for maintaining compliance and promoting effective leadership within our schools.

This blog post offers a short summary of the updated guidance for you to review.


The DfE mandates that every SENCO must be a qualified teacher and, if appointed after September 2008, must acquire the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years. This postgraduate-level qualification is integral for the development of SENCOs, ensuring they possess the necessary professional knowledge and understanding to support SEN students effectively.

The guidance provides detailed learning outcomes in three distinct areas:

Part A covers the legislative context for SEN and the theoretical concepts underpinning effective leadership in SEN provision.

Part B delineates the skills needed to lead and coordinate provision, including strategic work with colleagues and resource management.

Part C highlights the importance of personal and professional qualities that contribute to a positive school ethos for SEN students.

For school governors, this information is instrumental in supporting the professional development of SENCOs and ensuring the successful implementation of SEN provisions in schools.


The role of the school governor involves ensuring that our educational institutions not only comply with current legislation but also strive for excellence in every aspect of their provision. The guidance from the DfE is a valuable resource particularly in relation to the professional standards for SENCOs. As such, we encourage a detailed review of the full updated guidelines to ensure that all SENCOs are supported in meeting these requirements, thereby enhancing the quality of education for SEN students.

For a complete understanding of the SENCO role and the full details of the updated qualifications, we recommend accessing the complete guidance provided by the DfE here.

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