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School Support

What is a SENCO?
All schools have a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO for short) and they work with other teachers and with parents to make sure that pupils with special educational needs get the right support and help they need at school.

A special educational needs coordinator (SENCO for short) is a teacher who is responsible for special educational needs at school.

All mainstream schools (schools funded by the government) must appoint a designated teacher as the SENCO. They have to make sure that the school’s policy on special educational needs is carried out effectively by all staff. If you have special educational needs, the SENCO at your school will arrange and coordinate help for you. They will also keep your parents, teachers and other professionals such as educational psychologists and speech and language therapists up to date about your progress.

You are considered to have SEN if you have a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for you to learn than other pupils of your age. If you have special educational needs, you may need extra help with a range of things at school, for example:

  • schoolwork
  • reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • expressing yourself or understanding what others are saying to you
  • making friends or talking to adults
  • behaving properly in school
  • organising yourself
  • some kind of sensory or physical need which may affect you in school, for example, a dislike of certain textures or noises

If you have special educational needs (and many children and young people on the autism spectrum do) and you are struggling with your work at school, the SENCO at your school will be asked to help.

A SENCO’s job is to:

  • Work with you to help with your learning
  • make sure your parents or carers know about your special educational needs and keep them up to date with your progress
  • help other teachers and staff working with you at school
  • make sure that information about your needs is collected and kept up-to-date

All children and young people with special educational needs (SEN for short) must get the right kind of help and support to make sure they are able to learn properly at school. Many children and young people on the autism spectrum have special educational needs and so SENCOs should know about autism and Asperger syndrome as part of their job.

In a small school, the head teacher or deputy head teacher may take on the role of SENCO.  In larger schools there may be a SEN coordinating team (with more than one SENCO) which may include teaching assistants.

If you have special educational needs you should know who the SENCO is at your school. If you do not know who the SENCO is, or if you think you might have special educational needs which are not already known about, please talk to one of your teachers or your parents / carers as soon as possible.

When you leave school to attend college or University, or start a job, there will not be a SENCO to coordinate your support. However, there are other ways to make sure you get the right kind of support to help you continue to learn and achieve. Please see our Moving into Adulthood section for more help around leaving school

A full list of SENCO's allocated to schools in St Helens can be found under the Related Document tab at the bottom of this page.


Information on this page is taken from the Autism Education Trust website