Special Educational Needs and Disabilities reforms 2014: SENCos’ perspectives of the first six months

Curran, H, Mortimore, T and Riddell, R (2017) 'Special Educational Needs and Disabilities reforms 2014: SENCos’ perspectives of the first six months.' British Journal of Special Education, 44 (1). pp. 46-64. ISSN 1467-8578

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12159


The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms have been reported as the most significant reforms of their kind for over 30 years (DfE, 2014a). Through the Children and Families Act 2014 the Government are seeking to effect cultural and systemic change within the area of SEND and education; specifically the development of an aspirational and outcome based system for individuals with SEND, with the family at the centre (DfE and DoH, 2015a).The SEND Code of Practice (DfE and DoH, 2014) came into effect on 1st September 2014. The SEND Code of Practice (hereafter referred to as the Code) provides statutory guidance relating to the Children and Families Act 2014 for organisations, including schools, which work with children and young people with SEND. After publication a small number of amendments followed, with an updated version published in January 2015 (DfE and DoH, 2015a). The Code states that the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) has an ‘important role to play’ regarding the strategic direction of SEND in schools (DfE and DoH, 2015a: 108). Additionally the SENCo is typically responsible for the operational management of the SEND policy. Therefore the SENCo may be regarded as a key implementer of the SEND reforms. This paper forms part of a PhD which is developing research within the area of SEND policy reform, 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, a group of SENCos have participated in individual half-termly semi-structured interviews for the first academic year of reform. The aim is for the SENCos to share their lived experience as policy implementers, providing an expert eye witness account as policy is narrated in their settings. However, policy enactment does not take place in isolation (Ball et al., 2012). Therefore interviews are situated within wider data sets, gathered from experienced SENCos, Local Authorities (LAs) and the Department for Education (DfE) through interviews, questionnaires and documentary analysis. This paper discusses the emerging themes from one of the wider data sets which sought to gather the views of SENCos six months after the introduction of SEND reforms and the Code (DfE and DoH, 2015a). The data was gathered through an online questionnaire and the SENCos were asked to reflect on the support they had received to implement the Code. They were also asked about the changes they had made in their setting as a response and whether they had perceived any impact in their setting, as a direct result of the new Code. This paper seeks to explore the question ‘What is the SENCos’ perspective of the SEND reforms, six months after implementation?’

Item Type: Article
Keywords: special educational needs; SEND reform; SENCo; policy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: School of Education
UoA: Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12159
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2016 16:11
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 18:04
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/8483
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