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Developing Your Expertise as a SENCo

Developing Your Expertise as a SENCo

Leading Inclusive Practice

AUTHOR : Edited by Helen Knowler, Hazel Richards and Stephanie Brewster

ISBN : 9781915080868

Edition No : 1

Publication : Oct 2, 2023

Extent : 196 pgs

ISBN : 9781915080875

Edition No : 1

Publication : Oct 2, 2023

Extent : 196 pgs

ISBN : 9781915080882

Edition No : 1

Publication : Oct 2, 2023

Extent : 196 pgs


This book equips SENCOs and aspiring SENCOs to engage in high level continuing professional development activity associated with studying for mandatory qualifications, and supports critical and innovative practice and career progression.

Written by a multi-disciplinary team, it embraces sociological, medical and post-modern perspectives. It will be of interest to researchers and practitioners as it also critiques current theory, legislation, policy and research and how these can be transferred into settings. The book considers issues that SENCo's will experience both in their role and as part of this professional development, identifying the complexity of issues they have to consider and priorities in their role.

A range of pedagogic and interactive features are used to support the development of study skills when working at postgraduate level such as:

  • research and literature searching;
  • knowledge building and skills development in SENCo;
  • the ability to galvanise change in their context including difficult and respectful conversations about SEN provision and
  • the development of leadership skills. 

This book is unique in its link between the academic and professional dimensions of the mandatory qualification - a bridge between engaging in CPD and practice of the SENCo role.


Part One: Examining the SENCo role 

Chapter 1 – Examining the SENCo role  

Chapter 2 – SENCo professional identity and development  

Chapter 3 - SENCos and inclusive pedagogy  

Chapter 4The SENCo as leader: speaking up and speaking out  

Chapter 5 – SENCos engaging with theory  


Part Two: The SENCo at work 

Chapter 6 - The SENCo role across age phases  

Chapter 7 – Working with children and young people experiencing additional challenges  

Chapter 8 – Working with parents  

Chapter 9 – Working with other professionals  

Chapter 10 – Working with critical reflection on professional practice  

Chapter 11 – SENCos using data 

Chapter 12 - Evidence based practice to promote advocacy for learners with SEND  



Helen Knowler is a qualified teacher who has specialised in social, emotional and mental health for over three decades. Within higher education she has worked at the universities of Plymouth, Bristol and Exeter, and now leads the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination at the University of Wolverhampton.  

Hazel Richards is a senior lecturer on the Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion Studies course at the University of Wolverhampton. Prior to this she lectured at the University of Worcester on the Education Studies course and in the Department of Children and Families. She is an HCPC registered speech and language therapist, has a Masters in special and inclusive education, and a doctorate which investigated SENCo identity and influences on practice.

Stephanie Brewster started out as a speech and language therapist working in various health and educational settings with children and adults with significant communication needs. A key part of this was supporting pre-registration students on placement and contributing to CPD. She is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, in the special educational needs, disability and inclusion studies department, working predominantly with postgraduate learners. 


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Your Reviews on this book

"This is a useful book for SENCOs new to post and those with experience in the role. The chapters cover key aspects of being a SENCO, linking theory and practice throughout. The thread of inclusion runs through each, reminding the reader of how this ongoing journey should underpin all of the work they do. Chapters cover a range of relevant topics, offering a balanced critique on current thinking about SEN and inclusion. Topics are diverse and encourage critical reflection and the development of useful knowledge and skills to enable them to be a successful SENCO, supporting staff and pupils. An informative text which will be an essential resource for SENCOs."

Jo Winwood Programme Lead: Education, Serco UK&E Local Regional Government

"...a book that is relevant to all SENCOs. The authors and editors have deftly drawn together expertise spanning research, policy and practice in a way that is both relatable and accessible for SENCOs at all stages of their career.

SENCOs often have significant demands on their time, but applying the wisdom shared in this book will undoubtedly save them time as they become more effective in the role. Throughout, the authors emphasise the agency of SENCOs and the critical leadership role they play, not just for those with SEND for inclusion across the entire setting.

Above all, this book acts as a North Star for SENCOs, with its ethical golden thread guiding them to do what is right rather than what is easy. If you are a SENCO, this book should be at the top of your reading list."

Professor Adam Boddison, OBE

"The editors/authors of Developing you Expertise as a SENCO have clearly made a great effort to produce an up-to-date text that can be read cover-to-cover or dipped into when a specific aspect of SEN coordination is being evaluated in depth. This has paid off - short, well-designed chapters with case studies, resource information and good quality references allow readers to examine key issues in a manageable way. Well done to everyone involved, editors, chapter authors, and the many SENCo case study contributors."

Christopher Robertson Chair, the SENCo-Forum Advisory Group
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