Meeting the Needs of Children and Young People with SEND in Devon – Core Competency Framework

The SEND Improvement Programme aims to improve the lives of children and young people with a special educational need or disability, and the lives of their families. The Programme has different groups, which are linked to priorities in the SEND Strategy and Improvement Plan. One of the key priorities of the Strategy is to maximise the skills of the workforce so we can all get better at supporting children and young people with SEND.

The Workforce Development Group is part if the SEND Improvement Board and aims to ensure that everyone who works with children and young people with SEND has the skills and knowledge to do their job well. The group has developed a ‘Core Competency Framework’, or put more simply ‘What makes great work with SEND children and families in Devon?’. The idea is that staff should show these ‘core competencies’ in order to best support children and families. Despite the jargonistic title, it has been well received and prompted some important debate. Alistair, a parent carer representative from the SEND Local Offer Reference Group, worked with the professionals on the Workforce Development Group and other parent carers to make sure the framework contained all the competencies we felt necessary. Alistair then went ‘on tour’ to SENCO network meetings in spring term, to explain it to school staff and get their feedback.

The Core Competency Framework is now available.

You can also find this document on the SEND Practitioner support page –

What does this mean for me?

The key message from the SEND Code of Practice is that everyone is responsible for meeting the needs of children and young people and working in partnership with families. This document aims to highlight core competencies (key areas of knowledge and understanding, skills and abilities) to ensure we collectively meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and their families in Devon.

You could use this document:

  • For all staff to individually self-assess and develop their knowledge and skills, and to establish a baseline during induction;
  • To support newly qualified members of staff;
  • To supplement job descriptions or person specifications;
  • For leaders and managers to have an overview of the core competencies all staff should be working towards;
  • For discussion and reflection during your organisation’s meetings, internal training or in supervision and appraisal;
  • For identifying areas for future training or continuous professional development.

The framework lists competencies, then resources which you could use to develop these competencies. The list of resources is not exhaustive, but aims to offer an overview of:

  • Key legislation;
  • National guidance;
  • Local policy, practice and information from across Education, Health and Social Care.

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