Who Leads on SEND in a School? The SENCO or the Headteacher? with Abigail Gray

It is evident that SENCOs are struggling and many qualified SENCOs are not staying in their role. Additionally, LAs are getting away with unlawful practices and children with SEND are still being excluded at an alarming rate. It is crucial for teachers to receive support from the whole school team around SEND.

But who leads SEND in schools?

To delve into this topic, Dale is joined by Abigail Gray, SEND Consultant, to discuss ‘Who leads on SEND in a school? The SENCO or headteacher?’ in this episode. Abigail highlights the fact that SENCOs often feel undervalued and lack the necessary agency to fulfil their roles effectively.

For successful SEND provision, it is essential that SENCOs receive adequate training and support. They should be granted the time and authority to collaborate effectively with all staff. Moreover, decisions regarding admissions, funding, recruitment, and other aspects are not isolated concerns; they are whole school issues that directly impact children with SEND. Therefore, alignment across the entire school is imperative for an effective SEND approach.

Abigail sheds light on why SENCOs need agency within their organisation, highlights the three key elements necessary for maintaining a balance, and emphasises the significance of a whole school approach in which SEND is embedded in its leadership.

Useful Links

‘Effective Differentiation’ (Routledge 2018)

‘The Effective Teaching Assistant’ (Routledge 2020) co-authored by Melanie Wright. 

The Effective Teaching Assistant Online Course at My CPD Group


Instagram: @senworksltd







Abigail Gray

About Abigail Gray

Abigail began her 30-year career in Special Educational Needs as a teaching assistant. This led to a life in teaching and school leadership.

She now runs a successful SEND consultancy and is the author of two books; ‘Effective Differentiation’ (Routledge 2018) and ‘The Effective Teaching Assistant’ co-authored by Melanie Wright. (Routledge 2020).

Abigail writes and speaks about her work on inclusive teaching and differentiation on a national and international stage. She also is a regular contributor to Best Practice Network’s NASENCO Award programme as a subject specialist.

Be the first to hear when new podcasts go live!

The SENDcast is powered by B Squared

We have been involved with Special Educational Needs for over 25 years, helping show the small steps of progress pupils with SEND make. B Squared has worked with thousands of schools, we understand the challenges professionals working in SEND face. We wanted a way to support these hardworking professionals – which is why we launched The SENDcast! Click the button below to find out more about how B Squared can help improve assessment for pupils with SEND in your school.

SENDcast sessions logo

Introducing SENDcast Sessions

SENDcast Sessions are a new way for schools to access high quality CPD from SEND experts brought to you by the SENDcast. It’s the same great guests featured on our weekly podcast, delivering focused 1-hour online training sessions on a wide range of SEND topics.

SENDcast Sessions provide schools with in depth content that can be accessed forever. Build a library of online CPD that your school can continue to use in the future – choose from over 100 training sessions!

Visit the online shop

Leave a Reply

Podcast Feedback

Powered by
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop