29 July 2008

Schools will be funded to train their Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) - the key teaching leader responsible for the learning and support of all children with special educational needs - under plans announced by Schools Minister Andrew Adonis.

The Government will provide an extra £10 million a year to enable all new SENCOs to undertake high quality, nationally accredited training. The extra funding will underpin a new requirement, from September 2009, for all new SENCOs to be both qualified teachers and to receive additional training.

It is part of a package of measures set out by Andrew Adonis to improve support for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, outlined in his speech to the Voice union conference.

Andrew Adonis said:

"Improving the life chances of children with special educational needs and disabilities is an absolute priority for this Government and equipping teachers with the skills they need is central to this. Overall, funding for SEN provision has risen by more than £1 billion in the last four years.

"Teachers who take on a specific role in helping children with special needs and disabilities are an inspirational group, who do an amazing job. It is only right that we meet their commitment by providing them with the professional development they need."

Extra training will also be provided to trainee and existing teachers in a further £12m package.

Undergraduate trainee teachers will benefit from new SEN and disability course materials, developed by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), and students will be provided with increased opportunities to experience placements in special schools or other specialist SEN units.

Undergraduates training to be primary school teachers will benefit from new specialist units as part of their course, designed to give them additional skills to work with children with SEN. Equivalent units for secondary teachers will be rolled out in 2009.

For those teachers already in post, specially designed training materials will be made available to bolster their confidence in dealing with children with SEN -starting with communication difficulties and dyslexia. The training will be delivered through the Inclusion Development Programme. Materials on autism are in preparation, for release in 2009.

Editor's Notes

This press notice relates to 'England'

- Details of the SENCO training consultation can be found here http://www.tda.gov.uk/teachers/sen/senco_consultation.aspx

- Details of the initial teacher training units for primary undergraduates will be published on the TDA website: www.tda.gov.uk

- The Inclusion Development Programme is operated by the Department's National Strategies and materials are developed in conjunction with key voluntary sector organisations and other interests. See: http://www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/primary/features/inclusion/sen/idp

- For more details of Voice see: www.voicetheunion.org.uk

Contact Details

Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, info@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

Press Notice 2008/0163