Four Ways New SENDcos Can Build Positive Relationships
Being a Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo) and meeting the needs of young people can be truly rewarding, but it’s important to remember that relationships and interactions with others are at the heart of this role and that it’s vital to invest time in getting them right.
A SENDCo position requires high and continuous levels of collaboration with colleagues, external partners, pupils and their families. Keeping relationships at the forefront of your mind will make it much easier, so here’s our key advice on how to get started on the right foot:
Start Out Slowly
You’ll most likely have a wide range of ideas regarding how and where to focus your attention, and you’ll probably want to get on with implementing them straight away - but be sure to take your time.
It’s important to start off by familiarising yourself with the work dynamic, getting to know your colleagues, observing where inclusion is working well and analysing which challenges could arise, so that you can figure out the best ways you can provide support.
Having good parent-teacher relationships can make teaching easier, and whilst those relationships can sometimes be hard to build, they are even more important when a child has special educational needs.
Working with your pupil’s families is essential - ask parents what has helped their child in the past, so you can adapt your own approach to support them and make them feel confident in your classroom. Make sure to also explain parents the best ways in which they can contact you or their child’s key worker, and allocate time for periodical progress meetings.
Find out who your key external colleagues are, from educational psychologists to speech and language therapists, so you can reach out to them and aim to start developing good relationships.
Building a support system is also very important, so make sure to explore SENDCo forums available in your local area and sign up online to networks, as this will help you navigate your way through the early months and get valuable advice.
Care for Yourself
A SENDCo role requires a huge amount of energy, time and care. You’ll be in the best position to support others if you actively prioritise your own wellbeing, consciously care for yourself and be mindful of your own needs
Small actions like ensuring you do some exercise daily, take time to eat lunch and genuinely connect with colleagues will facilitate effective and productive working relationships, as well as being positive for your mental health.