Protect Sendcos’ Working Hours University Says

Special educational needs and disability coordinators (Sendcos) not have time to properly support children with ‘less severe’ special education needs and disabilities (Send) in school, according to research released from The National SENCO Workload Survey today.

A 74 per cent of Sendcos say they do not have time to support children on SEN Support, which make up four in five school pupils with Send.

Those with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) are fairing no better. Children with EHCPs have their provision legally protected, but 59 per cent of Sendcos also said that they felt there simply wasn’t enough time to make sure children were getting their entitlement.

A 1,903 Sendcos took part in research carried out by teaching union NEU, Bath Spa University and special needs charity Nasen.

Mainstreams schools must by law have a Sendco coordinating Send provision for pupils, but 5 per cent responding to the survey said they had no officially allocated time to do this and 78 per cent were ‘routinely’ pulled away to deal with other jobs.

Bath Spa University is today calling for Sendcos’ time to be legally protected to make sure they have enough time to support pupils with Send. This corresponded with 95 per cent of survey responses showing Sendcos felt this was something that would enable them to do their job properly.

Senior Lecturer in Education: SEN at Bath Spa University, Dr Helen Curran said: “‘The National SENCO Workload Survey has demonstrated how, in 2018, SENCOs are managing this challenging, yet rewarding, role. However, the survey has also illustrated how a lack of time to execute the role is not only affecting SENCOs, both professionally and personally, but is also impacting on children with SEND. SENCOs are seeking ways in which they can meet the demands of the role, often at a personal cost. Yet, this does not present a sustainable option for SENCOs or children alike. That this why, through the National SENCO Workload Survey, we are seeking protected time for the SENCO role.”

The university is also making recommendations to the Department of Education (DfE) including minimum hours per week allocated and non-contact timetable.

Assistant General Secretary, National Education Union, Nansi Ellis said: “Government funding cuts are having a devastating effect as schools face the difficult decision of whether to make savings through redundancies or provide appropriate support for children with SEND. It is a choice they should not have to be making. SENCOs in the survey said they hate not being able to offer all the support they believe students need because of time pressures and funding constraints. It’s time for the Government to listen to the SEND experts.”

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