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Sencos need not be teachers

I'm not surprised that Barry Sheerman, chairman of the education and skills select committee, is "deeply, deeply angry" at the Government's response to his committee's report on special educational needs.

Contrary to your report ("Training makes sense for sencos", TES, October 13), the Government response does not ensure that sencos will be teachers.

Your correspondent has been beguiled by the phrase "the person taking on the lead responsibility should be a teacher and a member of the senior leadership team". This allows schools to put "responsibility" into a senior manager's portfolio while retaining Mrs Smith, professional status uncertain, as senco.

The Department for Education and Skills' web page "Top 10 questions for schools and special educational needs" continues confidently: "Qualified teachers andor teaching assistants may undertake the role of senco."

The department published guidance in January as part of the secondary national strategy which explicitly envisages "teaching assistants or other members of support staff" as sencos.

Biff Crabbe. Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

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