The Programme:

This programme is designed to develop experienced teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities in leading special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision in their school.

This NPQ is primarily designed for SENCOs and will become the mandatory qualification for all practicing and aspiring SENCOs.

The NPQ for SENCOs is a leadership level qualification, primarily for SENCOs, school leaders or aspiring SENCOs.

SENCOs who have already obtained the NASENCO do not need to complete the SENCO NPQ.

From September 2024, all SENCOs and aspiring SENCOs will need to:

  • take the NPQ if they have not completed or started the NASENCO
  • complete training within 3 years of appointment – schools and SENCOs must make sure they enrol on training that will meet this requirement

SENCOs appointed before 1 September 2009 are not required to take the NPQ, but will be expected to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Participant suitability

The course is primarily aimed at those in a mandatory SENCO role. It may also benefit:

  • Those aspiring to be a SENCO in the near future, whether or not they have secured a role yet;
  • Those in a non-statutory ‘SENCO’ role for example in an independent school, special school, alternative provision setting or 16-19 organisation. Staff in these roles may not have QTS;
  • Staff who support the SENCO, either formally as a deputy SENCO or leading a particular area of SEND provision within the school;
  • Line managers of SENCOs or other senior leaders with responsibility for curriculum, behaviour, pastoral needs or managing provision;
  • Those who work outside of a school setting but work closely with SENCOs, e.g. in a local authority.


The programme aims to help you and your school by supporting you to:

  • Build a depth of expertise across a number of specialist areas related to your role (such as the statutory framework, identification of SEN and leading and managing provision)
  • Develop the skills to help colleagues to keep improving provision for all pupils and their families (including teaching, behaviour, professional development and implementation)
  • Contribute to establishing and maintaining a positive and supportive culture across the school in which staff and all pupils are able to thrive
  • Allocate resources strategically, monitor the impact of provision, critically evaluate evidence and advise colleagues

This is a 21-month programme involving 18 months’ delivery through seminar workshops and self-directed on-line learning and up to three months for assessment. The programme will give participants the essential knowledge, skills and concepts underpinning the successful SENCO. It will do so through exploring the following content modules based on the DfE’s NPQ frameworks:

  • School culture
  • Statutory framework
  • Identification of need
  • Teaching
  • Behaviour
  • Leading and managing provision
  • Professional development
  • Implementation

For more information on the DfE’s NPQ framework, click here:

National_professional_qualification_for_special_educational_need_coordinators.pdf ( 

The programme is delivered through:

  • Evidence-based on-line content using Teach First materials exploring each of the content modules
  • Seminars providing you with an opportunity for peer learning and the consolidation of learning within each of the content modules
  • Two face -to-face conferences to provide further opportunity for peer learning combined with expert input from specialist practitioners.

DfE funding is available for the NPQ for SENCO for all teachers and leaders from publicly funded schools.

There are a limited number of funded spaces available so please register your interest now to receive an application form and avoid disappointment.

If you do not receive the DfE scholarship funding, the cost for the NPQ for SENCO is £1,265.