Get access

SENCOs: vanguards or in vain?

Authors

  • Gunilla Lindqvist

    Corresponding author
    1. Dalarna University, Sweden; Jönköping University, Sweden
      Gunilla Lindqvist, School of Education and Humanities, Dalarna University, S-791 88 Falun, Sweden. Email: gln@du.se.
    Search for more papers by this author

Gunilla Lindqvist, School of Education and Humanities, Dalarna University, S-791 88 Falun, Sweden. Email: gln@du.se.

Abstract

In Sweden today, special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) are educated at universities to help resolve educational problems related to children in need of special support at three levels, that is, the organisational level, the classroom level and the individual level. Before the education of SENCOs was created in the early 1990s, special teachers were the occupational group that worked primarily on an individual level. Children's school problems were then seen as individual deficits. SENCOs can be seen as vanguards in changing an educational system from primarily focusing on an individual perspective to a broader focus on the entire learning environment. How has the occupational role of SENCOs affected schools? The overall aim of this study is to investigate possible changes within a school system when the introduction of a new occupational group, SENCOs, challenges established structures. More specifically, this paper studies how different occupational groups view where and in what ways SENCOs work and should work. Three different questionnaires are the basis of this analysis of SENCOs' present situation within the Swedish educational system. A number of interesting findings were detected in this study. For example, several occupational groups respond that SENCOs should work with individually taught special education. Meanwhile, a pattern emerges in which SENCOs seem to have partly established a new work role. However, little is known about how these changes affect children in need of special support.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary