Implementing the SENCo system in Hong Kong: An initial investigation


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Monitoring mechanisms of support services for students with special needs can be broadly classified as external and internal. Resembling the UK model, Hong Kong has adopted an internal mechanism through the establishment of the SENCo post. This investigation, written by Dr Kim Fong Poon-McBrayer, of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, explores how SENCos understand the policy intention of their roles, what the role entails in practice, and what work conditions are usual for participants. This qualitative study involved semi-structured interviews to probe SENCos' experiences. Findings reveal that SENCos assume management but not leadership roles in special educational needs provision. Policy deviation, and the prevalent autocratic leadership style across schools in Hong Kong, are the key contributors to conditions seen as unsatisfactory, of overwork, of the inadequate planning of provision, and of the need for professional and clerical support. It is concluded that policymakers can make improvements through implementing practical training in participatory governance for headteachers, developing a training model for SENCos, and providing SENCos with additional personnel resources. Further studies to gain a fuller picture of the organisational contexts are recommended. Copyright © 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Special Education © 2012 NASEN.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-101
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


Poon-McBrayer, K. F. (2012). Implementing the SENCo system in Hong Kong: An initial investigation. British Journal of Special Education, 39(2), 94-101.


  • SENCos
  • Inclusive education policy
  • School leadership


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