University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator Perceptions of Practice and Potential: Investigating Education and Health Care Plan Implementation in Early Years and Primary Education

Richards, Hazel (2019) Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator Perceptions of Practice and Potential: Investigating Education and Health Care Plan Implementation in Early Years and Primary Education. PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

Text (PhD Thesis)
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The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice (DfE and DoH, 2015) aimed to reform provision for children and young people with additional and complex learning needs. Its intention was to place such children and their families at the centre of practice and introduce Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) to bring together support from different disciplines. Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos) are the key implementers of the Code of Practice within their settings. This requires them to recognise complex needs, to interface with setting staff, families and expert professionals, and to apply for and implement EHCPs. However, differences in leadership, training and educational phase have created a confusing situation in which knowledge, status and priorities vary. This mixed-methods, close-to-practice research sought to identify, describe and explain key features of the role, implementation and SENCo identity, as perceived and experienced by SENCo practitioners working in either the early years or primary phase of education. A conceptual framework that encompassed micro-level influences (identity theory) and external ecological influences (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1982) was utilised to do this.
Following a pilot study, eight SENCos working in the early years phase and seven SENCos working in the primary phase from a variety of settings in one local authority area in the Midlands region of England participated in two stages of data collection. Each completed a work-line, a critical event narrative interview, and a repertory grid interview, then ranked a group repertory grid. Descriptive and numerical analysis of the data sets was conducted, with findings and results being integrated to discover the salient external and internal influences on EHCP implementation.
This process revealed seven themes, with accompanying sub-themes. Detail about SENCo identity (including their perceptions of collective and professional identity and of positive and negative impacts on their personal identity) emerged, including that the experience and outcomes for individual children were central to SENCo purpose. Key relationships became apparent, as did institutional issues (availability of consistent information and communication and liaison), and organisational issues (setting ethos, impact on SENCo status, teamwork and evidence collation). Knowledge and skills (of processes, developmental norms, SEND and of individual children) were also important, and all of these themes influenced the quality of evidence provided for EHCPs and so outcomes. A model was developed to illustrate these, then recommendations relating to purpose, support resources, communities of learning, and relationships were made. Finally, potential impact and dissemination platforms were detailed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University’s requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. University of Worcester, 2019.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCo), Children and Young People (CYP), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), SEND Code of Practice, Early Years Education, primary education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Hazel Richards
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2020 10:40
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2021 11:43

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