National professional qualifications (NPQs) have been created to support the professional development of school teachers and leaders. An amended suite of NPQs is now available. This suite was developed with sector collaboration and is informed by the best research and evidence available. All NPQs aim to provide support and training for teachers and school leaders and to result in the delivery of improved outcomes for young people. 

The Type of Curriculum Needed 

The organisation Special Needs Jungle (SNJ) argues that the most desirable NPQ SENCO curriculum would incorporate training around how to identify need and the best way to meet these needs. SNJ suggests that the current NASENCO qualification doesn’t routinely upskill teachers to carry out tests to assess spelling, reading, working memory, handwriting speed and visual processing, and that the new qualification would do well to focus on the more operational and strategic elements of the role. This could include the analysis of cohort data, the design and evaluation of provision maps, and the production of action plans. 

Fit for Purpose 

A recent SNJ article posited that the less academically rigorous nature of the NPQ qualification means that there’s a chance that knowledge around SEND could be watered down, along with the conceptual understanding of the challenging issues connected to inclusion in schools. The SNJ asks that the Department of Education carefully considers these things to ensure that the design and content of the new NPQ SENCO qualification is fit for purpose. 

Linking the NPQ SENCO with Other NPQs? 

For SNJ, one of the best elements of the NPQ SENCO is how it integrates into the overarching suite of NPQs so that it becomes commensurate with other, more mainstream, qualifications, rather than a standalone accreditation. 

Sir Peter Birkett

Education experts such as Sir Peter Birkett understand that linking the new NPQ SENCO with other relevant NPQs is an opportunity to develop symbiotic relationships in terms of course content. Discussing the way in which the NPQ SENCO aligns itself within a more common career qualification trajectory, the SNJ hopes that the qualification itself will become a more desirable proposition. An article on the organisation’s website suggests that it could even become a regularly used stepping-stone to Headship. 

For more information about NPQs, take a look at the embedded PDF. 

Sir Peter Birkett