National professional qualification (NPQ) for SENCOs: summary

Find out when SENCOs will be required to take the new NPQ and what it involves.

updated on 5 February 2024
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 47111
  1. New qualification mandatory for SENCOs from September 2024
  2. Existing NASENCo qualification still valid
  3. DfE funding for NPQs
  4. The NPQ is based on a framework

New qualification mandatory for SENCOs from September 2024

A national professional qualification (NPQ) for SENCOs will:

  • Be a requirement for all SENCOs from September 2024
  • Replace the current Master’s level national award for SENCOs (NASENCo)

SENCOs must complete the NPQ within 3 years of appointment to the role, as was the case for the NASENCo. 

The course:

  • Takes between 18 and 22 months to complete
  • Requires about 1 to 2 hours of study each week
  • Includes self-study, group sessions and a written assessment

See full details of the qualification in the DfE's guidance on the NPQ for SENCOs, including a list of providers.

This requirement is part of the SEND and alternative provision (AP) improvement plan - read our summary for more information.

For more details about your duties around SENCOs, take a look at our article on SENCOs requirements and qualifications.

SENCOs who have completed a NASENCo won’t