Each local authority mainstream school and all mainstream academies and free schools have to ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as their SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).
SENCO Cluster Groups are organised across the county as a way of providing professional support and development opportunities for SENCOs. Some are organised by SENCOs themselves or by support agencies such as the Educational Psychology Team. They may be called different things in different places. Some are known as a SENCO Forum; some are called a SENCO CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Network.
All of these meetings offer an opportunity for SENCOs from a locality to get together to discuss local and national issues, to share good practice, to jointly discuss solutions to any problems which may arise, and to build positive working relationships with other professionals in the area. Formal professional development activities can also be delivered at these meetings. The benefits of attending SENCO Cluster Groups include SENCOs having a shared understanding of local and national issues, having a supportive professional network and having enhanced knowledge and skills which they can implement in their school to further develop SEND provision.
Further information about schools responsibilities and the role of the SENCO can be found in the SEND Code of Practice.