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Funding for the training of new Sencos set to be scrapped - 14 June 2013
The Department for Education appears set to scrap the funding that pays for new special educational needs coordinators - Sencos - to undertake mandatory training.
The masters-level course - called the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination - is run by universities and local authorities and costs around pound;3,000 per student, which includes funding for classroom cover.
It seems schools will be left to foot the bill.
DfE officials have announced there will be "one further" round of funding, for 800 places, for the 2013-14 academic year. Applications open next week and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. But after that the money from central government will dry up.
Lorraine Petersen, chief executive of SEN organisation Nasen, said: "It will come down to schools having to find the money to put their Sencos through this training. But it is not very expensive for what they get out of it.
"Schools will now have to be thinking ahead, and putting money aside for training when they employ a new Senco."
And Christopher Robertson, lecturer in inclusive and special education in the School of Education, University of Birmingham, said the changes would have a "deleterious impact on small and rural schools" because they have smaller budgets. "It will also have an impact on nursery schools, who have told me they can't afford to pay for this training," he said.
A DfE spokesman confirmed that the latest round of funding would be the last, but insisted: "We have protected the Special Educational Needs budget for all schools, but it is headteachers who are best placed to decide how to manage funds and ensure staff take the appropriate qualifications."