Cardiff Metropolitan University
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An investigation into the effectiveness of the Secondary Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) role in Wales: The perspective of professionals identified through case studies

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posted on 2022-10-17, 13:33 authored by Heather Duncan


The current statutory framework in Wales for supporting learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is centred on the role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). No research has been undertaken in Wales into the nature of the current role, the duties and responsibilities or the factors that impact on their effectiveness to undertake the role. This is what this research aimed to address.

The intention was to provide the Welsh Government (WG) with evidence to help identify the strengths and challenges with the current statutory arrangements regarding this key role. It would support the identification of the impact which any statutory changes might potentially have on practice in secondary schools in Wales. Research into the factors that impact on the current role would make a significant contribution to the unfolding professional debate and contribute to a way forward for this complex agenda.

In my professional role, I had an involvement with the developing national agenda. This led to me developing a personal and professional interest in ensuring there was a better understanding of current practice that could serve to inform projected changes in legislation.

This research investigated the current secondary SENCo role in two large Local Authorities in South East Wales. A case study approach was employed using semi-structured questionnaires and interviews over a six month period.

The research findings support a recommendation that before any revision to legislation takes place, there should be an examination of the current demands on practitioners within the current statutory framework. A shared understanding of what is meant by effective practice and an evaluation of what effective practices currently exist may help shape better practice across Wales. It is also recommended that there should be greater national clarity regarding expectations on what any appointed post holder is intended to achieve in the role.



  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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