In September 2009 it became a statutory requirement for every new SENCO in a state mainstream school to gain the Master’s level national award for special educational needs co-ordinator (NASENCO) within 3 years of starting the job. The Department for Education announced in the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan that a new leadership level national professional qualification (NPQ) for SENCOs will replace the existing qualification. SENCOs who have successfully completed the NASENCO will not be required to complete the new national professional qualification.
The NPQ for SENCOs content framework sets out what participants should know and be able to do after completing the qualification. Details of the lead training providers accredited to deliver this new national professional qualification will be published once they have been chosen.
The requirement to complete training within 3 years of appointment will continue to apply. Schools and SENCOs need to ensure that they are enrolled on training that will allow them to meet this requirement.
Further guidance has been given for the transition depending on your current situation:
- SENCOs can continue to sign up for the NASENCO qualification until the end of the academic year 2023 to 2024. SENCOs enrolled on a NASENCO course commencing in the 2023 to 2024 academic year will be recognised as fulfilling the mandatory training requirement so long as this is completed within 3 years of taking up a SENCO post.
- Where a SENCO starts in post during the 2023 to 2024 academic year and has not begun the NASENCO before September 2024, they will need to enrol on an NPQ course starting no later than Spring 2025 to meet the statutory requirements for the role.
- Where an aspiring SENCO wishes to complete the NASENCO to meet the statutory requirements for the role, they must have started the NASENCO course before September 2024.
- From September 2024, all SENCOs or aspiring SENCOs, that have not completed or started the NASENCO will be required to take the NPQ.