Dynamik och samarbete
: Specialpedagogens roll i lärande gemenskaper

Translated title of the thesis: Dynamics and cooperation: The special educational needs coordinator’s role in learning communities
  • Malin Björk
  • Heidi Hellberg

Student thesis: Professional degree, Advanced level


Learning communities within an organization can contribute to development and growth. The role of the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), a contributor to school development through the establishment of learning communities, was identified as an area on which little research has been done nationally. Therefore, the aim of this study is to contribute further knowledge about the role of SENCOs in the development of learning communities in educational organizations. The method used is qualitative and investigates the work of SENCO and principals in three elementary schools through semi-structured interviews. The interviewees are four SENCOs and three principals. The empirical data is analyzed using Ahrenfelt’s interpretation of systems theory and terms such as the whole, interface, and informativeness. The conclusions drawn are that SENCOs operate by promoting relations and enabling cooperation within the organization, as well as by using their knowledge and competency in pedagogical guidance as a tool for establishing learning communities. Furthermore, the results show that SENCOs are capable of identifying the next step in the process of development through their work both within the system as well as the surrounding environment. SENCOs also use their analytical skills when sifting through information. For SENCOs to be able to fully utilize the skill set received through advanced university study, the conclusion is that it is the principal who is required to prioritize and establish the framework for the creation of a learning organization. The principal needs to remind the staff of the developmental process, for example through yearly staff interviews. This in turn facilitates the work of the SENCO, who is often the one responsible for administering various forms of vocational training. The principals view the participation of SENCOs in the school’s development groups as important. This enables SENCOs to act on the goals prioritized within the organization. Overall, the conclusion is that provided that principals establish the framework, SENCOs are capable of contributing with their area of competency in the development of learning communities. 

Date of Award2021-Jun-18
Original languageSwedish
SupervisorLisbeth Ohlsson (Supervisor), Tina Kullenberg (Examiner) & Daniel Östlund (Examiner)

Educational program

  • Special Education Programme

Courses and Subjects

  • Education

University credits

  • 15 HE credits

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogy (50301)


  • distributed leadership
  • professional learning
  • professional learning communities
  • school development
  • special educational needs coordinator

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