Middle level leaders play a key role within school and educational networks. Their function can be more effective if they are enabled to act in a distributed leadership perspective. This is particularly evident with the role of the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). The rise and prominence of SENCOs in coordinating whole school approaches to support students with special needs has resulted in their visibility as leaders. The evolution of the SENCO role has seen the need to recognize their unique position as middle level leaders in developing and overseeing special needs care. A proposition which remains largely foreign in many countries. What remains undeniable is that a SENCO’s positioning within a school can significantly impact on their legitimacy and effectiveness. This paper examines the results of a qualitative research project, aimed at reconstructing an interpretative framework of the SENCO’s middle level leadership functions. The study highlights on the one hand their management and leadership functions, and on the other, the elements that facilitate or hinder their role. The study also highlights the emergence of widespread leadership through the creation of a third space where SENCOs join together through the creation of networks which function as communities of practice.

Spotlight on the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO): Why Are SENCOs Indispensable in Today’s Schools and How to Support Their Middle Level Leadership International

Girelli Claudio
;
Bevilacqua Alessia;
2019

Abstract

Middle level leaders play a key role within school and educational networks. Their function can be more effective if they are enabled to act in a distributed leadership perspective. This is particularly evident with the role of the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). The rise and prominence of SENCOs in coordinating whole school approaches to support students with special needs has resulted in their visibility as leaders. The evolution of the SENCO role has seen the need to recognize their unique position as middle level leaders in developing and overseeing special needs care. A proposition which remains largely foreign in many countries. What remains undeniable is that a SENCO’s positioning within a school can significantly impact on their legitimacy and effectiveness. This paper examines the results of a qualitative research project, aimed at reconstructing an interpretative framework of the SENCO’s middle level leadership functions. The study highlights on the one hand their management and leadership functions, and on the other, the elements that facilitate or hinder their role. The study also highlights the emergence of widespread leadership through the creation of a third space where SENCOs join together through the creation of networks which function as communities of practice.
Leadership, middle level leadership, distributed leadership, special educational needs, Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO), educational fragilities
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1034933
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