Curran, H (2015) SEND reforms 2014 and the narrative of the SENCO: early impact on children and young people with SEND, the SENCO and the school. In: BERA Annual Conference, 15-17 September 2015, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms have been reported as the most significant reforms of its kind for over 30 years. Through the Children and Families Act 2014 the Government are seeking to affect cultural change; specifically the development of an aspirational and outcome based system for individuals with SEND, with the family at the centre (DfE and DoH, 2014). The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is responsible for the operational and strategic aspects related to SEND provision within the school and as such will be a key implementer of the reforms. The SEND Code of Practice came into effect on 1st September 2014; therefore current research is limited. This paper forms part of a PhD research project which intends to develop research in this area through exploring and analysing the in-depth experience of the SENCO as a policy implementer during the first academic year post-reform. Through a semi-naturalist narrative inquiry approach, SENCOs participate in half-termly semi-structured interviews, to share the lived experience of the policy implementer; specifically how their role develops and emerges in response to, and through the narration of, new policy. However, policy enactment does not take place in isolation (Ball et al., 2012). Therefore interviews are situated within wider data gathering from experienced SENCOs, Local Authorities and the Department for Education through interviews, questionnaires and document analysis. This paper discusses the initial emerging themes from the research; exploring the enablers and barriers to executing the role, both generally and in relation to the reforms, as well as exploring individual responses to the SEND reforms and policy implementation. Perspectives of support at a Local Authority level are examined alongside the reform priorities the SENCOs have identified. However, the paper also examines the potential un-intended impact of the reforms. This includes an examination of the differing levels of engagement from SENCOs with the reforms and whether this is at a cultural or bureaucratic level. However critically the paper seeks to explore whether the reforms have prompted a changing notion of SEND in schools and what impact this has had on individuals in the short term, potentially compromising the core principles of the reforms.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2015 11:26
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2016 09:20
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