Are you a SENCO struggling to be strategic? Facing burnout? You are not alone!

SENCOs have too many hats to wear and can often feel like they aren’t making a difference. Spending a lot of time firefighting, feeling guilty for not being strategic enough yet having to roll their sleeves up and muck in.

“You can want to be strategic, but there is so much that gets thrown at you throughout the day. You feel a bit like a firefighter most of the time and have to react to things constantly.”

Abigail Hawkins

Abigail Hawkins joins Dale in today’s episode ‘Cuddly cardigans, strategic suits and why SENCOs don’t fit into either!’. Abigail has been a SENCO for over 25 years and knows first-hand the challenges and demands they’re facing.

When the SEND Code of Practice changed in 2015, SENCOs were told to be strategic……anyone in the role knows that you cannot be entirely strategic. Whether it’s a cuddly cardigan or a strategic suit, you can’t wear either of them and need to be somewhere in between.

Abigail discusses SENCO vs SENDO, that SENCOs are supposed to be coordinators, not doers but struggle to delegate. Listen to find out why SEN is everyone’s responsibility and how to find a better balance by coordinating, facilitating and enabling others to support the role.

About Abigail Hawkins

Abigail runs SENDCOSolutions, an SEN consultancy and SENsible SENCO CIC, a not-for-profit networking support group.  She has been a SENCO for over 25 years and has taught a multitude of subjects across all phases from 2-year-olds to adults. 

She works with software companies developing supportive software for SEN and Safeguarding purposes, has developed and delivers on a teaching assistant apprenticeship programme, authored several books on SEN and exclusions and runs a support network for over 9000 SENCOs. 

Until recently, she was the Chair of Governors for 3 schools in the East Midlands and she still works as a SENCO for part of her week.  Abigail has a no-nonsense, practical approach to SEN issues faced by schools.

Abigail was one of the three lead voices on a series of SEN webinars delivered over the lockdowns amassing an audience of over 12000 viewers and she uses modern approaches to share SEN-related information including a successful YouTube channel. 

Contact Abigail Hawkins

Useful Links

Weekly SEN Network/CPD meetings for the SENsible SENCO community.  Details available on Eventbrite:


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