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Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The National Award for SENCOs (NASENCO)

Transition to national professional qualification for special educational needs co-ordinators - Mandatory for some; appropriate for all.

In September 2009 it became law for every new SENCO in a mainstream school to gain the Master’s level national award for special educational needs co-ordinator (NASENCO) within 3 years of starting the job.

The leadership level national professional qualification (NPQ) will become the mandatory qualification for SENCOs from September 2024, replacing the NASENCO qualification. Teaching of the NPQ for SENCOs will begin in autumn 2024.

This was announced in the Department for Education’s SEND and alternative provision improvement plan in March 2023.

National professional qualifications

NPQs are designed to:

  • support teachers and leaders to develop expertise in specialist areas of teaching practice and school leadership
  • deliver improved outcomes for schools and young people

They are designed using the latest evidence. They can be completed around professionals’ existing commitments.

The NPQ for SENCOs content framework sets out what participants should know and be able to do after completing the qualification.

Special educational needs co-ordinator's national professional qualification

Who is this course for?

  • special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs)
  • teachers interested in developing expertise in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or undertaking a SENCO role in future
  • school leaders



This 18-month course will enable you to:

  • co-ordinate special educational needs (SEN) provision throughout your school
  • work alongside other leaders to build a school culture in which pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can participate meaningfully in the full life of the school, achieve ambitious outcomes and make successful transitions to their next steps

This course will:

  • take between 18 and 22 months to complete (18 months taught and 3 to 4 months assessment window)
  • involve an average of 1 to 2 hours of study each week
  • be a mix of self-study and group sessions
  • have a written assessment
  • start in autumn 2024

Course content and structure

The course includes 8 topics:

  • school culture
  • statutory framework
  • identification of need
  • teaching
  • behaviour
  • leading and managing provision
  • professional development
  • implementation

The course includes:

  • independent study
  • group coaching
  • face-to-face sessions with other participants







SFET Teaching School Hub is delighted to deliver the new specialist NPQs and reformed suite of leadership NPQs in partnership with STSN and Teach First. This partnership brings together the best local knowledge and context with the experience and programmes of Teach First. 

Please register your interest and STSN will be in touch with further information about the programme.