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Early years

A Manual for the Early Years SENCO By Collette Drifte Paul Chapman Publishing pound;16.99

Pushed in at the deep end? Overwhelmed by the enormity of it all? If you are a new special educational needs co-ordinator, Collette Drifte has written this invaluable manual for you. Even experienced Sencos might benefit from a copy which, at pound;16.99, is a great buy. Each chapter is freestanding, and uses bullet points so you don't have to wade through pages of text.

Drifte starts by acknowledging that the Senco's task is huge. She reassures and builds confidence by offering detailed advice on making the seemingly impossible manageable. She also writes with humour - memorably describing a Senco as a cross between Houdini, a diplomat and a humanitarian.

Although her focus is on early years settings, her advice holds good for all. The Senco at my school liked the clarity and the examples of good practice, the emphasis on team and multi-agency approaches and the helpful photocopiable resources.

There are excellent approaches to planning the year ahead, a positive and practical look at policy writing, and even letter templates for every occasion.

Drifte's key advice? Don't do everything yourself: you are a co-ordinator; let everyone know this and enlist their support. She sums it up neatly:

"Shy bairns get nowt."

Kevin Harcombe Headteacher, Redlands primary school, Fareham

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