At a glance

Course duration
Course duration

18 Months

1:1 Coaching

Face-to-face events
Face-to-Face Events

Online learning
Access to research, SEND case studies and self-study modules

Total learning hours
Total Learning Hours

90-94 hours

NPQ for SENCOs: Empowering SENCO Leadership

Marking a significant step in supporting exceptional outcomes for students with special educational needs (SEN), the new leadership-level National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for SENCOs will be launched in autumn 2024. Replacing the NASENCO qualification, this programme promises to equip SENCOs with the cutting-edge expertise and leadership skills needed to navigate the evolving SEND landscape and champion inclusive practices within their schools.

Designed in collaboration with leading experts and informed by the latest evidence, the NPQ curriculum will delve into key areas such as:

  • Strategic Leadership: Fostering a collaborative school culture that prioritises inclusive education and empowers all stakeholders
  • Expert SEND Knowledge: Mastering the intricacies of the SEND framework, legislation, and best practices to ensure seamless support for students with diverse needs
  • Effective Collaboration: Building strong partnerships with teachers, parents, and external agencies to create a network of support for students

Benefits for participants

  • Facilitation and support from experienced SEND professionals
  • Purpose-built virtual learning environment equipped with interactive resources and discussion boards, fosters engagement and collaboration beyond the classroom
  • Support to pass the final assessment
  • Content contextualised for your locality and updated to reflect national developments and legislation
  • Assessment tasks that involve professional enquiry into relevant aspects of your school’s current practices
  • Flexible delivery arrangements according to needs and circumstances

Benefits for schools - develop leaders who 

  • Are strategic leaders within their schools, playing a pivotal role in shaping whole-school teaching practices and fostering inclusive environments where pupils with SEND can thrive
  • Have the skills necessary to successfully implement sustainable changes intended to secure improved pupil outcomes
  • Recognise the importance of having a secure evidence-base to underpin their strategic decision-taking and is familiar with the science of learning
  • Shares common understandings and a shared professional language with other leaders in your school - the 'golden thread' of professional development 



Who is it 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 the future
  • School leaders

How is NPQ for SENCOs delivered?

NPQ for SENCOs makes use of a blended delivery model consisting of face-to-face events, online study, webinars and coaching




NPQ for SENCO participants will attend 4 Face-to-Face events via the blended delivery model. Our nationwide delivery partnership network allows us to bring face-to-face training to a training centre in your region, facilitated by experienced school leaders and facilitators.

Online Learning

Participants access online learning and support via our virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas. Through Canvas, participants are able to engage with their learning communities of peers and access multimedia content. They can also access research and expert-led school practice aligned to the curriculum content for the qualification and receive high-quality feedback from experienced performance coaches.


Qualification Structure

Applicants must have full support from their school/organisation. A head teacher, member of the SLT, line manager or Chair of Governors (or similar authoritative role) must confirm their support and that all information submitted is true and correct. This is a Department for Education mandatory requirement.

To apply for NPQ for SENCO, applicants must have the following:

  • Teacher Reference Number - see TRN Support Guide 
  • 2 years teaching experience
  • Opportunity to apply learning

If you are unsure if you meet the above requirements or have other relevant experience then please contact our team who will be able to support your application.

SENCOs who have already obtained the NASENCO will not need to complete the new NPQ. From September 2024, all SENCOs will:

  • Need to take the NPQ if they have not completed or started the NASENCO
  • Still need to complete training within 3 years of appointment – schools and SENCOs must ensure they enrol on training that will meet this requirement
  • SENCOs appointed before 1 September 2009 will not be required to take the NPQ but will be expected to ensure compliance with the regulations

The leadership performance coach is a participant’s main point of contact for the duration of the NPQ for SENCOs. Their role is to support a participant’s progress and development through the programme. They will respond to practice task activities completed for each online course and provide challenges and feedback on each of the Formative Assessment Tasks.

Each participant will receive small group and individual coaching sessions from their leadership performance coach to develop their thinking and support their progress.

The in-school sponsor is someone who the NPQ for SENCO participant can check in with across the duration of the programme and who can provide relevant professional guidance, support and challenges.

The sponsor is not a formalised programme role but a go-to person to talk about their learning and development from the qualification and its application in practice. The sponsor may be a leader from another school/organisation.

The DfE’s NPQ for SENCO framework is based on a robust method of design and development, building on the evidence base and expert guidance already established in the ECF and the ITT Core Content Framework. The NPQ frameworks reflect the Teachers’ Standards and Headteachers' Standards to ensure coherency with the requirements already used by the teaching profession.

The National Professional Qualification for SENCOs costs £1,298 plus VAT if applicable.


Scholarships will continue to be available to all teachers and leaders from publicly funded schools and 16 to 19 educational organisations for the NPQ for SENCOs.

NPQ scholarships for the Autumn 2024 Cohort are subject to availability - apply now for the best chance of receiving a scholarship.


How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the NPQ for SENCO, please click below to fill in your information. 
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