In this week’s podcast, Dale Pickles from B Squared is joined by Natalie Packer to discuss managing the SENCO workload.

Natalie Packer is an independent education consultant, specialising in SEND and school improvement. Natalie develops and delivers a wide range of training and support to schools, multi-academy trusts and other organisations. She is a member of nasen’s 0-11 Advisory Group, and also supports the Whole School SEND review process. On top of this and being a Governor and Trustee Natalie has also found time to write books The Perfect SENCO and The Teacher’s Guide to SEN.

The role of the SENCO is a really important one but one of the most challenging in a school. The recent nasen / Bath Spa University research publications (‘It’s about Time’ and ‘The Time is Now’) highlighted the significant challenges with SENCO workload – this has not eased with the introduction of the SEND reforms in 2014 and it is becoming even more of a challenge as SENCOs take on extra responsibilities e.g. as part of senior leadership team. It’s often difficult for other leaders who have not been a SENCO to really understand the role and getting the message across to all leaders about this is important.

Key messages about SENCO workload have been fed into the DfE SEND Review consultation and it is hoped that some of the recommendations made in the above report will be considered in the outcomes of the review!

SENCOs benefit from being supported with ideas on how to manage their workload so the purpose of the podcast is to provide information about the background of the challenge but also some practical tips on how to do this, including:

  • Being part of / making links with SLT
  • CPD for staff so they understand their responsibilities
  • Working with curriculum leads to support High Quality Teaching
  • Knowing the law
  • Planning your time (and securing enough time in the first place!)
  • Setting up effective systems
  • Using administrative tools
  • Using High impact interventions

SENCO wellbeing

Original Bath Spa / nasen SENCO workload survey report –

Follow up report on the SENCO workload Survey –

SENCO Induction Pack – available on

SENCO Forum for questions –

Focus On training for staff available at

IPSEA, courses available on knowing the SEND law –

Provision mapping software –

Natalie’s book – Perfect SENCO –

Contact Natalie Packer

Website –

Email –

Twitter – @NataliePacker

For more podcast episodes from the SENDcast click below…

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