Background: The aim of this paper is to argue that there are a number of key drivers for Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision that have to be met by Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) and teaching professionals so as to ensure optimal provision and inclusion for children with SEN in mainstream primary schools. Although the research has been carried out in England, there is a significant European Dimension to the issue, as a similar role to that of SENCOs in respect of SEN management already exists in countries such as Finland and Ireland, and is being considered in Italy.

Methods: This paper focuses on the data gathered for the purpose of the author’s doctoral research in England, through questionnaires and interviews with SENCOs, head teachers and teachers. Thematic analysis was used to explore key drivers of SEN provision by practitioners who support children with SEN. 

Results: Data illustrate that the key drivers of SEN provision include time; teacher openness to change; target setting; evidence of tried interventions; empowerment; decision-making and approachability. The implementation of such drivers depend largely on practitioner skills and competencies.

Conclusion: The main conclusion within this paper is to develop points of reference for planning and practice, with illustrations of optimal provision by all practitioners who work with children with SEN.


Special Education Needs; SEN; inclusion; mainstream; primary school; UK

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