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The National Award for SEN Coordination

The National Award for SEN Coordination

The National Award for SEN Coordination is a postgraduate qualification for teachers in the role of special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). New-to-role SENCOs in maintained mainstream schools must attain the Award within three years of their date of appointment as SENCO.

To achieve the National Award teachers must successfully meet all the SENCO Learning Outcomes and successfully complete Masters level assignments.  The award is validated at Masters Level and provides 60 credits.

The South West Consortium

The award is offered through the South West Consortium consisting of Plymouth University and the University of Exeter, working in partnership with the local authorities of BCP, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Plymouth and Somerset. Since 2010, more than 1500 SENCOs in the South West have attained the Award through the South West Consortium.

  • Six taught days
  • Local LA context for learning through f2f and virtual learning support and resources
  • Professional learning community
  • Networking with local SENCOs and sharing good practice
  • High quality local tutors with extensive expertise, knowledge and experience
  • High quality formative feedback

Our evaluative evidence from SENCOs, headteachers and our external examiners suggests that the Award is having a positive impact on practice, ideas and the achievements of schools and their pupils. Participant feedback indicates how the programme has supported professional learning and expertise, confidence, engagement with organisational expectations and leadership, teaching and learning and Ofsted evaluation requirements.

Please note the University of Exeter course sessions are held in Dorchester.

The SENCO programme is open to qualified teachers (i.e. who have QTS/QTLS and have successfully completed an (NQT) induction period) who are employed in the role of SENCO. 

The programme is also open to qualified teachers who are not SENCOs but who have an interest in the role of SENCO and leadership of special educational needs. Teachers who are not SENCOs must be employed in an educational setting, have access to pupils with special educational needs, be able to lead at least some aspects of SEN in the school and will need the support of their headteacher. Teachers who are not SENCOs may not be able to achieve all of the SENCO Learning Outcomes.

There is no government funding for this Award as all CPD funding has been devolved to schools.

Fees for 2023-24 are £2700.

The programme consists of 6 full days’ attendance at sessions in your local authority location and we strongly recommend 4 school focused/research/study days.

EFPM278 SEN: Organisational Contexts
EFPM279 SEN: Leading on Teaching and Learning
EFPM285 SENCO Learning Outcomes Portfolio


The modules are designed to explicitly relate to the SENCO Learning Outcomes.  They ensure a critical theoretical perspective while also maintaining relevant context-based practical outcomes.  The programme is strongly rooted in effective practice (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally), being up-to-date, relevant, research-based and led, taught and facilitated by people with relevant current experience, expertise and skills. Modules will draw upon local context and make use of local expertise.  The programme includes opportunities for SENCOs to apply theory to practice, to undertake practical activity in their own school and evaluate and improve their practice, and learn from effective practice in other schools.

If you are a SENCO in BCP or Dorset, and would like general information about the programme or wish to apply to the University of Exeter programme, please email the University of Exeter programme leader by using this address: Please note the University of Exeter course sessions are held in Dorchester.

If you are a SENCO in Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth or Somerset, in the first instance contact Victoria Bamsey at Plymouth University.

Applying for a place with the South West Consortium

Please contact us for any queries and/or for an application form.