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National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO)60 creditsMaster of EducationOnlineContinuing Professional DevelopmentValidated by Middlesex University



The National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) remains a statutory requirement for all SENCOs appointed new to the role, and an excellent opportunity for professional development for current and aspiring SENCOs.

The DfE have explained that “the national professional qualification for SENCOs will replace the NASENCO as the mandatory SENCO qualification from September 2024, and will be available from Autumn 2024.” Real Training will therefore continue to provide the opportunity for SENCOs and aspiring SENCOs to start NASENCO courses in May 24 and July 2024.

Key information from the DfE Transition plan:

  • Qualified SENCOs – will not be required to take the new NPQ
  • SENCOs currently enrolled on the NASENCO – can complete your NASENCO qualification and will not be required to take the new NPQ
  • SENCOs beginning the role in 23/24 – to qualify in time, start the NASENCO before September 24 or the NPQ by Spring 25
  • Aspiring SENCOs – Aspiring SENCOs wishing to complete the NASENCO must begin the course before September 2024 to meet the requirements.

The Government has now confirmed that the new NPQ qualification will last for a fixed period of 18 months, plus an additional 3-4 month assessment window. This is longer than the 12 months that it typically takes to complete the NASENCO. It’s also possible to complete the current NASENCO in less than 12 months. 

Do you want to stay up to date with any significant changes? Email us if you would like to join our SEND update list! Last page update: 20th February 2024.

Our popular NASENCO course is taught fully online, allowing you to learn flexibly and at your own pace, wherever you are based. You’ll learn ‘on the job’ and have access to your tutor at any time. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with other SENCOs to share ideas, suggestions, and more.

This module is one of the core modules on our Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme but when combined with other modules can also be completed as part of our SEND and Inclusion Programme. This programme was developed and is delivered and assessed by Real Training, awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University.

Why take this module?

Discover online learning that fits in with your school, your setting, and your schedule.

Six career-defining reasons to become a qualified SENCO with us:

  1. Learn on the job – engage with real-life learning that slots perfectly into your day-to-day and builds on your existing practice.
  2. Embrace flexible e-learning – experience our leading virtual campus (Campus OnlineTM) and take the latest skills and knowledge into the heart of your setting.
  3. Encounter a perfectly weighted practice-led study programme that doesn’t overload you with theory and take the modules in any order that suits you.
  4. Discover the latest research, policy, and guidance and develop truly first-rate skills with our outstanding SEND practitioners.
  5. Achieve the gold standard award for SENCOs that drives up teaching standards and outcomes for those with SEND.
  6. Master the essential competencies and leadership abilities to fuel your career and attain a Middlesex University-validated National Award for SEN Coordination Postgraduate Certificate – worth 60 Masters-level (M-level) credits towards our MEd SEND.

How will I benefit?

Add real value to your school

  • Gain a respected, highly valued and mandatory qualification. The DfE is still recommending the NASENCO up until September 2024.
  • Keep up to date on all matters relating to SEND. Our course includes all the latest SEND Implementation Plan implications.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the background legislation, policies and evidence that are key to inclusion and SEN provision.
  • Secure your knowledge of high-incidence disabilities and their effect on each pupil’s learning and development.
  • Draw on a broad range of evidence, policy and resources and work with others to influence the delivery of inclusive education.
  • Design, implement and evaluate an intervention in your setting to improve the outcomes of one or more SEN pupils.
  • Cultivate your collaborative, leadership and staff management skills with multiple stakeholders.
  • Explore the importance of interpersonal relationships to achieve robust planning and intervention delivery.
  • Enhance your own and others’ personal and professional development.

What makes our National Award for SENCO special?

  • Work with personal tutors who are experienced and qualified practitioner psychologists or specialist teachers.
  • Experience the National Award from the comfort of your own setting with Campus OnlineTM – the leading virtual learning environment for postgraduate SEND study.
  • Learn on the job and encounter a perfectly weighted practice-led study programme.
  • Attain a Middlesex University-validated National Award for SEN Coordination Post Graduate Certificate – worth 60 M-level credits.
  • Take your first steps on Real Training’s MEd SEND and Inclusion Programme – an unrivalled range of modules that are relevant to SENCOs.
  • Connect with SENCOs across the UK.
  • Save travel time and money.
  • Choose a start date that suits you (January, May, or July).

What will I study?


Strand one: The context for inclusive education

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the background legislation, policies, and evidence that inform inclusion and SEN provision including the DfE’s 2023 Improvement Plans.
  • Also, learn to appreciate how high-incidence disabilities affect your pupils’ learning and development.
  • Activity-wise: you will analyse SEND/inclusion policies within your school and look at their background – and how they relate to the current legislative climate.


Strand two: Developing strategy and policies for inclusive education

  • Draw on a broad range of evidence, policy and resources, to work with others to positively influence the delivery of inclusive education – particularly in relation to strategic vision and commitment.
  • Activity-wise: you will compare and contrast elements of SEND practice currently under review in your school through a visit to a local school to compare SEND practice in an alternative setting.

Strand three: The development, planning, and application of inclusive practice

  • Analyse the intervention choices offered in your setting and evaluate the outcomes of one intervention in detail.
  • Draw on the theory, evidence, local practice and external sources of support to design, implement and evaluate a local intervention that will enhance the outcomes of one or more SEND pupils in your school.
  • Activity-wise: you will analyse the implementation and monitoring of interventions and practice for children with SEND. You will evaluate your existing systems for SEND data management.

Strand four: Working with others

  • Enhance collaborative, leadership and staff management skills, by fostering an understanding of the key roles and relationships that SENCOs have with multiple stakeholders.
  • Focus on the essential nature of interpersonal relationships for the effective planning and delivery of interventions.
  • Activity-wise: you will reflect on the impact of the course on your development and leadership skills.

Did you know?

These strands can be taken in an order that suits you! Our flexible structure allows you to slot the tasks and activities seamlessly into your working life.

How will I be assessed?

You will:

  • Submit self-assessment questionnaires as you start and progress through the course to document the development of your confidence, skills, and knowledge.
  • Write three short reflective learning logs that document examples of your school-based SEND practice.
  • Collate evidence of your applied practice in managing and interpreting SEND data and in reviewing your commissioning of outside professionals.
  • Write three written assignments – one on inclusion research/policy, one comparing your school SEND policy and practice with another provision, and another evaluating an intervention running in your setting.
  • Write a reflective evaluation of the impact of the whole course on the development of applied professional knowledge and leadership skills (2,000 words).

Please note – No previously attained masters-level credits can be transferred into this qualification. The NASENCO qualification must be completed ‘in full’.

How is the module delivered?

  • Our NASENCO course is delivered fully online.
  • Study at your own pace without the need to travel, or commit to particular dates or times.
  • No need to worry about being available on a certain date or time. You select your study hours.
  • Contact your tutor, access a wealth of resources (including the EBSCO digital library and our online module guide), and network with other delegates through Campus Online, our unique provision for online learning.
  • Join our monthly, live breakfast webinars hosted by leading SEND experts, discussing industry topics. Recordings are available if you’re unable to make it on the day.

Am I eligible?

In order to enrol on the NASENCO course, you will need to have completed an undergraduate degree and you must have either Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status.

If you hold QTS, but have not yet successfully completed your NQT induction period, you must do so in order to then receive your NASENCO certificate upon completion of the course, unless your QTS certificate states you have an exemption.

  • If you hold QTS, then you will need to be employed for the duration of the course, either as the SENCO in your setting or in another position within the setting, with the full support of your current SENCO/headteacher. This will enable you to undertake a wide range of tasks and responsibilities of the SENCO role, in addition to your current duties.
  • If you hold QTLS status, you will need to be employed as a SENCO, or in another position within your setting, with the full support of your current SENCO/headteacher. This will enable you to undertake a wide range of tasks and responsibilities of the SENCO role, in addition to your current duties. If you do not hold an undergraduate degree, you will also need to demonstrate your ability to work at level 7 (Masters-level).

If you are not working as the named SENCO in your setting, we will need confirmation from the head of your school or setting that you will have the required access to roles and opportunities that enable you to meet the NASENCO learning outcomes. Click here for more information on what is required.

For SENCOs new to the role, it is mandatory to achieve the National Award within three years of appointment. This remains the position in law as the SEND Code of Practice has not been updated and UK Statutory Instruments 2014 No. 1530 Part 3, remains in effect.

Delegates who do not hold QTS or QTLS are unfortunately not eligible for the course. We understand this can be disappointing, however this is government policy that we are required to follow.

Are you based in an international setting?

If you are based in an international setting, our International Award for SEN Coordination course would most likely be the better option.

This course is designed specifically for international SEN and inclusion professionals, and offers opportunities to share best practice with professionals in the same situation. Our tutors have experience working in and with international schools worldwide.

If you are planning on returning to the UK in the future and have QTS/QTLS, we offer a free top-up course that will enable you to work as a SENCO in a UK setting. Due to the introduction of the NPQ SENCO in the UK in Autumn 2024, the last opportunity to book the iSENCO top-up course is 31 August 2024. You must have already started iSENCO by this point.
Please click here for advice and information relevant to all professionals studying outside of the UK.

How much does it cost?

We offer a flexible range of fees to suit your finances:

  • Single payment of £2,495 + VAT.
  • Three monthly instalments of £857 + VAT.
  • Ten monthly instalments of £262 + VAT.

For further information please visit the payment FAQ page.

Speak to us (01273 358080) or make a booking.

When does the course start?

Our next cohort starts 15 July 2024. Book and enrol before 15 July 2024 to join us!

We are also offering a cohort starting 31 August 2024. This will be the final cohort to gain the mandatory NASENCO qualification for SENCOs.

Following the introduction of the NPQ SENCO in autumn 2024, our cohort starting 15 September 2024 is available for those with a professional interest in SEN Coordination, but who do not need to achieve the mandatory qualification for SENCOs. This cohort may also be of interest to delegates in independent settings, those who are ineligible for the NPQ and/or do not wish to study the NPQ.

If you are located in England, for the July 2024 cohort, we are offering the opportunity for delegates to be able to study the National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) course alongside a Senior Leader Apprenticeship. Both courses would most likely be free to your school because they would be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy. This option offers additional support, additional expectations and an additional qualification. You can find further information here

How long does it take to complete the course?

The duration of the NASENCO course is up to one year, earlier submission is also possible. 

We do understand, however, that circumstances can arise that could prevent the course being completed in this time period. If this is the case, an extension can be arranged in conjunction with the admin team and your tutor. 

The whole qualification must be completed and no accreditation for prior learning (experience or previously attained credits) is possible. It is only possible to bring previously attained masters-level credits into the PGDip or MEd.

What do previous delegates say?

For more in-depth delegate feedback, click here.

‘This course has enabled me to do my job much more effectively and has given me the confidence in my decisions which I have at times lacked prior to studying. The tutors are extremely supportive and the constructive criticism is helpful and very useful.’Elspeth

‘The course has helped me develop as a leader, staff feel more confident in my skills and recommendations now. The new database ensures everyone has access to the information on SEND individuals and has further developed communication across the school and with external agencies.’Alice

‘I loved how it has given me confidence when speaking to LT about SEN, and how I know where to look if I need something clarifying. The final aspect of the course – self-reflection and leadership styles has been really informative and allowed me to reflect on my own leadership and where I need to work/develop.’Lisa

‘My tutor has been incredibly supportive and encouraging which is invaluable when working so independently. I have found her feedback positive and helpful, without her supportive emails I would have struggled to complete.’Helen

Meet the NASENCO Module Leader

Katie Hickin

Katie has worked within educational settings for a decade as a teacher, a SENCO and a member of the Senior Management Team. Now working for Real Group, Katie leads and tutors on the SEND Programme, including the NASENCO and iSENCO qualifications.

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