Your SENCO Essentials

Below you will find a useful guide to some of the essentials you need to help you in your role and have in your toolkit.  

These range from key legislation and guidance, to developing your yearly planner for SEN and Inclusion within your 

setting. There is also a special educational needs jargon buster!

If you have any further questions, please contact one of our Inclusion Advisory Teachers who would be happy to help and guide you.


As a SENCO you will need to be aware of the key legislation and guidance which underpins your work. Below are links to key documents that are your essentials and will support you in your role.

Key Legislation: The Children and Families Act (2014)

Part 3 of The Children and Families Act (2014) provides the legal framework for many of the systems and processes for supporting children and young people with SEND. It is available here:

This legislation provides the legal framework for a range of regulations and guidance, in particular the Special Educational Needs Regulations (2014) and Code of Practice (2014 and updated 2015). It also links closely with the Equality Act (2010). The Act sets out duties on local authorities, education settings and other partners.There is a helpful guide to Part 3 published here:

Key Guidance: The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2014, updated 2015)

The Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on the duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Regulations. It applies to all maintained settings, academies and free schools in England.

The SEND Code of Practice is available here:

Key Legislation: The Equality Act (2010) 

The Equality Act 2010 brought together a range of previous acts including: the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 196, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007. 

The Act is available here: 

The Equality Act Guidance for Schools 

Additional Legislation: Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) 

An essential document for you to know:  

Additional Legislation: Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions (2017)  

Helpful guidance for working with children and young people with medical conditions: 


(Some of the above information has been taken from the NASEN SENCO Induction Pack. This is a really helpful resources to support SENCOs in their role.) 

As a SENCO you will have a strategic overview of the policy and practice in relation to special educational needs and inclusion in your setting.  Therefore, it’s important that you have and review the following documents on a regular basis: 

  • Accessibility Plan 
  • SEN Information Report 
  • SEN Policy (not a statutory requirement) 
  • School Improvement Plan/Development Plan for SEN and Inclusion 
  • Keep a clear record of CPD for SEN and Inclusion 

Check that your setting’s SEN Information Report and SEND Policy are on the website and easily accessible for parents/carers. This is a statutory requirement and it is a priority if it is not there already.

It's important that your SEN Information Report is updated on an annual basis and is easily accessible for parents/carers.  It should also include a link to the Barnet Local Offer website and Barnet SENDIASS.

The following gives a guide to what to include in your SEN Information Report: SEN Information Report Guidance

Our Barnet Ordinarily Available guidance document describes the provision that should ordinarily be available in state funded education settings. It provides a benchmark and baseline of a common set of expectations about what provision should be made for the majority of children and young people with SEN wtihin the structure of funding for early years settings, schools, academies, free schools and colleges of further education.

Schools and education settings should read this in the context of their responsibility to operate a graduated approach to assessing, planning, reviewing and providing for the majority of pupils' needs in their settings.

This is designed as a practical guide which is split into different sections to support settings:

  • Section 1: Introduction
  • Section 2: People, Policies and Processes
  • Section 3: The Graduated Approach
  • Section 4: Inclusive Practice: Expectations for Settings
  • Section 5: Ordinarily Available provision categories of SEND
  • Section 6: Useful Resource

Click here to download a copy: Barnet Ordinarily Available document

As a SENCO you will encounter many jargon terms related to special educational needs and disabilities; therefore, we have created a Jargon Buster which explains many of the terminologies you’ll come across. This can also be shared with other people in your setting. 

SEN Jargon Buster

Within Barnet, we have also created our ‘Barnet Special Educational Needs and Inclusion FAQs’ document which answers a range of questions about special educational needs provision.  Click on the following link to download a copy: Barnet Special Educational Needs and Inclusion FAQs


A good starting point for any SENCO is to have a yearly planner in place for SEN and Inclusion across your setting. This should include all the key tasks that need to be in place to ensure the highest quality provision for special educational needs.

Within this it’s helpful to include the following:  

  • Key tasks for the SENCO 
  • Key tasks for teachers 
  • Key tasks for support staff 
  • Planned CPD for the year 
  • Review of key documents such as your SEN Information Report and any policies that are due for review

This can be broken down into months of the academic year and should also link to your whole school calendar so everyone in your setting is clear about when key events are taking place. 

Local SENCO Forums  

Our local SENCO forums run regularly during the term and are known are our SENCO Challenge Workshops. We run a forum for our primary SENCOs and a forum for our secondary SENCOs and these are facilitated by our Inclusion Advisory Teachers.

Our SENCO Challenge Workshops are a great place to meet other SENCOs across Barnet, and an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise about different aspects of special educational needs and inclusion. The agenda for our forums is very much driven by our SENCOs and covers topics that they would like further support with.  We also regularly invite organisations and speakers to our forums so it's a brilliant way of deepening your knowledge and networking. 

If you would like to find out more, contact our Inclusion Advisory Teachers: (primary) and (secondary)

SENCO Conferences

Our SENCO Conferences take place on a termly basis and provide the latest updates and devleopments for SEND both locally and nationally. They offer practical guidance to support SENCOs in their role, covering a wide variety of topics related to inclusion and special educational needs. It's also an opportunity to network with other SENCOs and professionals. Information about our SENCO Conferences is regularly shared on our SENCO Zone so do check back for updates and in our Upcoming Events section.

Many members of the SENCO forum are SENCOs but this is not a requirement – everyone who is involved in SEND is welcome, including class teachers, teaching assistants, advisers, consultants, parents, young people etc. The Forum provides opportunities for people to ask questions, offer suggestions, discuss and debate, and share information and resources, in the field of SEND.  

To join the Forum, visit the following link:  

(Information taken from

Some useful websites that are helpful to support you in your role: