Speak to us
or Make a Booking
Confidence through competence
Course Browser

Senior Leader with NASENCO60 creditsMaster of EducationOnlineContinuing Professional DevelopmentValidated by Middlesex University


Achieve the highly-regarded National Award for SEN Coordination (NASENCO) alongside an apprenticeship in Senior Leadership. This combined programme allows you to develop your knowledge and skills in two crucial areas; Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and strategic leadership. 

Upon completion, you’ll receive both a Level 7 Senior Leader qualification and the NASENCO, equipping you to make a significant impact in your setting. This programme can be fully funded using the Apprenticeship Levy.

You will study the NASENCO with Real Training, with additional apprenticeship elements delivered by our Ofsted Outstanding partner organisation Educational and Sporting Futures.


Why choose the Senior Leader with NASENCO programme?

This programme provides a comprehensive and flexible learning experience that caters to your individual needs. You’ll engage in a blend of independent study modules, interactive workshops facilitated by experienced SEND and leadership experts, informative webinars that offer the latest insights, and practical projects designed to solidify your learning and prepare you for real-world application. One of your key projects will be the creation of a strategic SEND development plan for your setting.

You’ll be supported by your coach at every step as you study the core NASENCO curriculum and build your leadership knowledge, skills and behaviours.

How will you benefit?

  • Boost your knowledge and skills in two important areas – SEND and Leadership – and receive the qualifications to recognise your expertise
  • Develop your proficiency through independent study, workshops, webinars and practical projects such as writing a strategic SEND development plan, which will help you maximise your impact
  • Benefit from having the support of your coach at every step, as well as a dedicated leadership coach who will provide individual coaching and guidance to help you build upon 360 feedback from your colleagues
  • Gain 60 Masters level credits that can be put towards further studies
  • Leverage the extensive experience of Real Training, SEND experts since 2004, and Educational and Sporting Futures – an Ofsted-Outstanding apprenticeship provider.

How is the course delivered?

The programme runs for 16 months, during which you’ll complete your National Award for SEN Coordination coursework on Campus Online, our provision for online learning, which enables you to fit your studies in around work and personal commitments. You’ll also receive x3 one-to-one leadership coaching sessions with your dedicated coach. In these sessions you’ll use our 360 degree leadership skills tool and analyse and plan your response to your feedback from colleagues.

There will also be mandatory bi-weekly webinars which will occur on Tuesday afternoons during term time and termly progress reviews in which you’ll celebrate your growth and successes and discuss challenges you have been facing. These will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.

Your final progress review is known as the Gateway Review. Once you have completed this, you’ll then undertake the End-Point Assessment. This involves developing a Strategic SEND Development plan over a 6 – 8 week period and writing a Strategic Business Proposal. You’ll then meet your independent End-Point Assessor to deliver your Presentation and have a Professional Discussion.

Detailed content overview

The NASENCO curriculum is made up of 4 strands, covering both theory and practical application.

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.

Through your work on the NASENCO curriculum, and the additional leadership content covered in the programme, you will be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to successfully achieve your two qualifications. The Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship covers:


  • Leadership Theories, Models, Attributes and your Setting
  • The Context of Inclusive Education
  • Understanding the landscape and building positive whole school ethos and reputation
  • Financial Strategies


  • Applying leadership theory and driving positive change
  • Risk Management
  • Continuous Professional Development for self and others 

Professional behaviours

  • Working collaboratively enabling empowerment and delegation
  • Value difference and champion diversity

Who is the Senior Leader with NASENCO designed for?

The opportunity to undertake this course is open to employed SENCOs and qualified teachers who are aspiring SENCOs. It may also be of interest to current and/or aspiring senior leaders who are looking to gain a good understanding of SEND and create a more inclusive learning environment for all students.

Are you eligible?

  • You must hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS).
  • You must have the right to work and be employed at least 16 hours a week and have lived in England for the last three years.
  • You will need to provide evidence of having achieved GCSE Level 4 or equivalent for English and Maths.
  • You must not have already completed the Senior Leadership Level 7 apprenticeship.
  • Your employer must agree to appoint a workplace mentor to attend the termly progress reviews.
  • Your employer would need to agree and enrol you as an apprentice. We can support you with this.

Please note: This programme is open to delegates in England only.

How much does it cost?

This programme can be fully funded using the Apprenticeship Levy.

If your employer (school, MAT, or local authority) is an Apprenticeship Levy paying employer (i.e. they have a wage bill in excess of £3m) then 100% of the Apprenticeship is paid for from the employer’s levy pot. Your Finance Director / Business Manager will know about it. Usually there is money left in this levy pot but you do need to check with your employer.

If your employer does not pay the Apprenticeship Levy then the Government will fund 95% of the apprenticeship and your employer will need to commit to paying 5% of the fee which is £700 and would cover the cost of both courses. ESF should be able to support your school to reclaim this £700 via a process known as Levy Transfer. If you successfully enrol on the Apprenticeship then your school will not need to pay Real Training the NASENCO course fee. If they have already paid this, it will be refunded. Please note that one twelfth of the NASENCO fee will be paid to Real Training by Educational and Sporting Futures each month. This means that if you later withdraw from the apprenticeship, the balance of the fee would be owed to Real Training by your school. This forms part of the Terms and Conditions of enrolling onto this combined Apprenticeship and NASENCO option.

What happens if I plan to self-fund the NASENCO?

If you plan to pay the cost of the NASENCO yourself, you will need to talk with your employer about whether they are supportive of you undertaking the apprenticeship alongside NASENCO. This is because it is only possible to enter onto an apprenticeship via your Employer.

When does it start?

The next cohort for the Senior Leader with NASENCO starts July 2024.

Application Deadline

Please apply as soon as possible. If you wish to guarantee a place, please apply by Monday 21 June. We can still take applications up to Monday 1 July if there are places available.

How do I apply?

To register for the Senior Leader with NASENCO course, please:

Application Deadline

Please apply as soon as possible. If you wish to guarantee a place, please apply by Monday 21 June. We can still take applications up to Monday 1 July if there are places available. 

It is possible to study the NASENCO course on its own, without the Senior Leader qualification. For further information about the NASENCO programme, please see our dedicated NASENCO webpage.

Who are Educational and Sporting Futures (ESF)?

Educational and Sporting Futures are an Ofsted Outstanding and Award Winning Apprenticeship Provider that is part of Real Group. ESF is led by Teachers and Educational Psychologists and they focus on designing and delivering apprenticeships that work for teachers, teaching assistants, sports coaches and schools. Recently Real Training has been working more closely with ESF so that we can also incorporate our SEND courses into high quality apprenticeships. 

ESF delivers apprenticeships through Sporting Futures (UK) Training Ltd (this is the company on the apprenticeship register and also part of Real Group Ltd).