Informal, Non-formal, and Formal Networking: Ensuring Autonomy and Flexibility for Special Needs Coordinators

  • Alison Claire Kearney Massey University Institute of Education


The importance of the Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in facilitating inclusive and equitable education is well supported in the literature with many countries formalising the role through legislation and policy. New Zealand however, while adopting the role of SENCO, has not formalised this role, meaning that those in SENCO positions in New Zealand experience high levels of flexibility and autonomy. This paper reports on a study of New Zealand SENCO, highlighting their day-to-day workings. A model of networked SENCO expertise is presented that reinforces SENCO autonomy and flexibility while also facilitating their needs for collaboration, sharing of practice and ongoing professional learning.