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Part of
What SEND professionals do

These are some of the people who may be working with you

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Part of
What SEND professionals do

These are some of the people who may be working with you


Key roles in SEND

An overview of key professionals supporting you

Education RolesHealth rolesSocial care roles

Other professionals

More people who may be involved

A to Z of people working within SEND

Professionals working together

Understanding the meetings that people who support you may attend

Multi-agency meetings

Class teacher

The class teacher is responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the children and young people in their class, including where they get support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.

They have many aspects to their role which include

  • setting goals that stretch and challenge children and young people of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions
  • using a graduated response
  • understanding how a range of factors can make it harder for a child or young person to learn and how best to overcome these
  • managing classes effectively
  • using approaches which are appropriate to the child or young person’s needs to involve and motivate them
  • working closely with teaching assistants to inform the planning and to assess the impact of interventions

Teaching Assistant

The teaching assistant (TA) provides support to the class teacher. They also support the learning of children with SEND in the main class, in a small group, or one to one.

Children with SEND may have a TA who works with them throughout the school day depending on the plan of support in place for that child.

TAs are also called Learning Support Assistants (LSA) or Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA). Some may be trained in ELSA (emotional and social skills support) or Forest School or other nurture activities.

Intervention Teacher

The intervention teacher helps students who are having behavioural, social and educational difficulties in the classroom, and who are not making expected progress.

The intervention teacher may work with the students in a group or with an individual as decided by the SENCO or headteacher.


The headteacher establishes and sustains culture and practices that enable children and young people to access the curriculum and learn effectively in a school.

In their role they

  • make sure the school meets statutory duties of SEND Code of Practice 2015 and Equality Act 2010, holding ambitious expectations for all children and young people with SEN
  • a clear approach to early identification of SEN and response to identified needs,
  • promoting a positive and respectful relationship across the school community
  • and a safe, orderly and inclusive environment.
  • Ensure the school works effectively in partnership with parent carers and professionals, to identify the additional needs and SEN of children and young people,
  • providing support and adaptation where appropriate.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

The SENCO is a designated teacher responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEND policy, and specific support to children and young people with SEN, and are usually a member of the schools’ Senior Leadership Team (SLT). They work with the Headteacher and SEND Governor to make sure that the school makes reasonable adjustments and access arrangements under the Equality Act 2010. They will co-ordinate provision for pupils with SEND, maintain the SEND register and annual reviews and work closely with parents, staff and external agencies. They will be aware of the Local Offer provision and provide support to families. In smaller schools this role may be part time or shared between neighbouring schools. The SENCO works closely with the next educational setting to ensure a smooth transition is planned with children and young people and their parent carers being informed about options. They will be a qualified teacher and working towards a National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years of becoming a SENCO.

Parent and Family Support Advisors (PFSAs)

Parent and Family Support Advisors (PFSAs) work with school-aged children and their families that need extra support. They support parents with some of the everyday problems that they might be having with their children so that the children are happy to attend school and engage in their learning. PFSAs are available to all parents but will usually only work directly with a family when they are going through a tough period and they need that extra help to get them through. PFSAs support parents with things like behaviour, attendance, emotional wellbeing, healthy eating, budgeting, feeling isolated and can signpost families to more specialist support if it is needed. They are very good at getting families through tricky times and helping them to get things back on track. Contact your PFSA through your school.

Early Years Area SENCOs / Inclusion Advisers

Early Years Area SENCOs and Inclusion Advisers provide advice, practical support and training for Early Years providers to identify and support young children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Early Years Area SENCOs are Advisory Teachers with a high level of experience in working with young children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families. Early Years Inclusion Advisers are qualified early years graduates, specialising in SEND, who support early years providers with their inclusive practice.

Assessment and Reviewing Officer (ARO)

The Assessment and Reviewing Officer (ARO) or Senior Assessment and Reviewing Officer (SARO) coordinates the statutory needs assessment process ensuring legal statutory timeframes are met. An Education Health and Care needs assessment is the start of the process to see whether an Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan) is required. An EHC plan outlines strengths, areas of need, outcomes, and provision needed for a child/young person. The ARO or SARO work within and may be known as the Statutory SEND Team.

Educational Psychologist

Educational Psychologists (EP or Ed Psych) observe and/or work with a child or young person to complete some assessments to understand their strengths and identify any special educational needs. They will work with key adults to tackle challenges such as complex cognition and learning difficulties; language, communication and interaction difficulties; social, emotional and mental health difficulties; issues around disability as well as more complex developmental difficulties. Educational Psychologists can provide support for individual children and young people (including as part of the statutory needs assessment process), as well as provide support at a whole school, systemic level.

Last reviewed: December 14, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: June 14, 2024

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