Responding to a new report looking at SENCO workload, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The role of SENCO is a vital one and it’s very important that staff have adequate time to carry out their duties in this area. Most school leaders would certainly agree with the recommendations made in this report to ensure that happens.
“Sadly though, the situation for SENCOs is one that is common to almost all school staff. With schools finding it hard to recruit, losing existing staff faster than ever, and unable to replace valuable members of staff when they leave due to the funding crisis, all teachers and leaders are having to take on more and more to make ends meet. The latest data obtained by NAHT from a survey of its own members shows that 77% of school leaders found recruitment a struggle last year, whilst 67% said members of their staff had left for reasons other than retirement – largely in search of a better work-life balance. We know that currently teachers work an average of 54 hours per week, and school leaders over 60. This is totally unsustainable.
“All school leaders, including deputy and assistant heads, and SENCOs, are finding their time pulled away from their extra responsibilities by teaching and learning pressures in the absence of sufficient staff. Our 2017 Leaky Pipeline report showed that 44% of schools failing to recruit a teaching position covered the teaching hours with a member of the Senior Leadership Team filling in. And there is less time and money for CPD – NAHT’s most recent funding survey showed that 70% of schools have had to reduce investment in CPD due to funding pressures.
“The only way this will change is if the government tackles the three-headed dragon of funding, workload and accountability, and takes action to ensure schools are fully staffed and resourced.”
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