Partnerships and NASENCo

Nasen has an influential voice at national level on issues concerning special educational needs. We are regularly invited to meet with government agencies to offer advice and support at policy level, and are represented on many influential national organisations, some of which you can see below.

Our members are part of this influential network by responding to national consultations or by volunteering to be part of nasen’s varied Advisory Groups which have the responsibility of providing advice, support and guidance to the Governing Body and CEO to ensure nasen’s aims and objectives are fully achieved. If you would like to be part of the nasen Advisory Groups please contact us.

NASENCo Providers & nasen

NASENCO Providers

Appointing a SENCO


All state-funded mainstream schools in England, including Academies, free schools, university technical colleges and maintained nurseries are required to employ a teacher with qualified teacher status (QTS) in a Special Educational Co-ordinator (SENCO) role. 

It may be appropriate for a number of small primary schools to share a SENCO employed to work across the individual schools. Where a shared approach is taken the SENCO:

  • should not normally have a significant class teaching commitment
  • should not be the headteacher at one of the schools.

Schools should regularly review the effectiveness of such a shared SENCO to ensure that the approach is having a positive impact on the quality of SEN provision and progress of pupils with SEN in all of the schools involved in the arrangement. 

SENCO qualification requirements

Most SENCos are required to undertake mandatory training (the National Award for SEN Coordination).

Where a person becomes the SENCO at a relevant school after 1st September 2009, and has not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, the appropriate authority (governing body or proprietor) of the school must ensure that, if the person is the SENCO at the school at any time after the third anniversary of the date on which that person becomes a SENCO, that person holds the qualification. 

In practice this means that all ‘new to role’ SENCOs must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination within three years of appointment.

From 2009-2014 twenty-five providers of NASENCo training were accredited to deliver NASENCo training by the Training and Development Agency (TDA). NASENCo training was centrally funded during this time.

From September 2014 national accreditation of NASENCo providers ceased and an open market for NASENCo training was initiated. At the same time central funding for training ceased in 2014; schools/ settings and individuals are responsible for financing training.

All SENCos/ALNCos continue to be required to hold QTS and NASENCo training remains mandatory within the new funding arrangements.

Why have a Standard

In order to preserve the current high standard and quality of NASENCo training the previously accredited NASENCo providers formed a Provider Group network in September 2014, comprising of 24 provider institutions. In an open market head teachers and SENCos/ALNCos can choose to engage with any provider delivering NASENCo training, previously accredited or new. The current providers felt they needed to be able to assure those purchasing NASENCo training that they are engaging with providers offering quality training. Prior to September 2014 accredited providers were listed on the DfE website.

Our credentials

The NASENCo Provider Group have met on a voluntary basis four times since September 2014. All previously accredited providers have attended one or more meeting, with a commitment to continue working together to preserve the quality of NASENCo training offered to SENCos/ALNCos in a free market.

The Provider Group appointed a voluntary Working Group (current providers) to develop the Quality Standards Framework. The wider Provider Group has been informed of and consulted with this process at every stage.


The current NASENCo providers have developed a Quality Standards Framework. This is a self-evaluation document focussing on providing evidence for:

  • Programme Entry Requirements
  • Programme Delivery
  • Collection, Processing & Application of Data
  • Programme Validation and Teaching & Assessment

A Registration Group, comprised of current providers on a voluntary basis will consider putting the applicant provider on the Register of Quality Providers. Self-evaluation evidence relating to the Quality Standards Framework from both current and new providers will be considered.

Register of Quality Providers: NASENCo training

The Registration Group, (comprised of current NASENCo providers) having considered self-evaluation evidence relating to the Quality Standards Framework, have placed the following providers on the Register of Quality Providers.

nasen’s role

nasen has supported the NASENCo Provider Group by providing nasen staff to work with the wider Provider Group and the Working Group, organising and facilitating meetings, developing the process for networking and taking on the role of conduit between the providers and DfE. Nasen’s role, as an independent charity, is to support the provider group as an independent, self-regulating body. Nasen is committed to supporting quality NASENCo training and preserving the integrity of the Award. It has agreed with providers to publish a list of “quality providers” on its website to support head teachers/ SENCos/ALNCos. Accountability for NASENCo training and associated outcomes remains with DfE.

Special Education Consortium (SEC)

Hosted by CDC, part funded by nasen, SEC was first established by the Council for Disabled Children. SEC is consortium of the voluntary sector, education providers and professional associations who work together to protect and promote the interests of disabled children and children with special educational needs. SEC works to ensure that children with special educational needs and disabled children get the education they need. Over the past 21 years, SEC has worked on issues affecting children and young people with SEN/ALN during the passage of 18 pieces of legislation. SEC started with the Education Act 1993 and is still going strong with the Children and Families Act 2014, the Care Act more recently. Nasen member representative for SEC is Sheila Kitchener, click here to contact her.

National SEND Forum

Update on national issues relating to SEND/ALN, part funded by nasen. The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forum is a regular meeting of the leading representatives of significant national organisations in this field. It is attended by the Department for Education. The National SEND Forum (NSENDF) is politically neutral, drawing together the providers, champions and commissioners of services for the most vulnerable in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors and across the 0-25 age range. The Forum is facilitated and convened by the Federation of Leaders in Special Education.

SEN Policy Research Forum

Part funded by nasen, the SEN Policy Research Forum contributes intelligent analysis, knowledge and experience to promote the development of policy and practice for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. You can join the forum and participate in its activities. Their latest policy paper, “Governance in a changing education system: ensuring equity and entitlement for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs” is available online for free, along with previous papers. The report is based on the joint seminar with the Special Educational Consortium in January 2015.

These two projects below are funded specifically by DfE national prospectus grant, nasen providing strategic support.

Ambitious about Autism – Finished at School programme 2015/16

Ambitious about Autism (AaA) every day, strive to make sure that the people who make the policies know how important it is to make the world a more autism-friendly place. They work hand in hand with young people with autism, their parents and carers and the professionals who support them, because they're the most powerful campaigners we know.

KIDS Project Making it Personal 3 (MIP3)

nasen are a member of the strategic advisory project board of the MIP3 project led by the charity KIDS. This project will look at the personalisation agenda in schools and colleges and in particular the ways of overcoming the real and perceived challenges of personal budgets in the education sector.  Other strategic advisory board partners involved in this project include the NAHT, ASCL, and NGA.

The International Examination Officers’ Association (iEOA)
nasen has partnered with The International Examination officers'
They focus on providing a more ‘user friendly’ exam experience for all learners!
The iEOA is an independent professional body and registered charity focused on providing support on exams delivery in centres which will benefit all learners and help them reach their full potential within the education and commercial sectors.                                           
Through their Exams SEND and External Candidate Services.