Working from a distance? A study of Special Educational Needs Coordinators in Swedish preschools

  • Petra Gäreskog Uppsala University, Department of Education
  • Gunilla Lindqvist Uppsala University, Department of Education


The purpose of this study is to increase our knowledge of the tasks, perceptions and role of special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) in preschools. The study is part of a total population study where all SENCOs in Sweden (n = 4252) who were examined by the examination acts of the years 2001, 2007, and 2008 were sent a questionnaire. In a later phase of the procedure, responses from SENCOs who work in preschools were extracted from the 3190 responses received and reported earlier. Thus, this study consists of 523 participants. The results show that coordinators’ working hours are primarily spent on consultation. SENCOs report that they are able to influence their colleagues’ views on children’s difficulties to a high degree. Regarding SENCOs’ perceptions of why children have difficulties in preschools, a large number of SENCOs indicate that this is because preschool is poorly prepared to handle children’s differences. The outcome is discussed using theories of professions and jurisdictional control.

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special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), preschool, occupational role, profession, jurisdictional control