Papa don’t preach – how SENCOs can effectively support staff

Nobody likes a know it all. Certainly not me. However, as SENCOs we have to be experts (well semi experts) in a range of needs: dyslexia, ASD, ADHD to name a few. The nature of our job is to advise, and this is where the balance needs to be found. Advising, not preaching.

In my corner of the country, in order to get support from outside specialists, we have to attend meetings to present the child’s case, discussing what support has already been tried and its effectiveness. Fair enough. Yet, as the years have rolled by, there has been an ever increasing demand for supporting paperwork. This is a real bug bear of mine as it has taken me further and further away from the classroom.

The classroom, in my opinion, is where a SENCO should be. Supporting from within, able to see first hand what the child’s needs are, and thinking through, bearing in mind the demands of the other children, how support can be realistically achieved.

If we can work alongside out colleagues, observing, providing group support from time to time, chats after school etc, then any advice we then give is more likely to be well received, especially if we take the time to properly demonstrate and follow up.


Time is my most precious resource, and time is what I want to give to teachers and TAs. Time to build trust and relationships, not someone who is just crunching numbers.

So what is the answer? Work smarter. Be precise and concise on those dreaded forms. Create templates which can be adapted and individualized. That way a balance can be found, and we’ll be able to spend that precious time in class.

Image created with Communicate in Print – Widgit software

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