The Department for Education has released the latest statistics from the school census on pupils with special educational needs and provision in schools. DYT highlights some of the key figures:

Overall Picture –

  • There has been an overall increase of around 30,000 young people with SEND (1,244,255 in January 2017 to 1,276,215 in January 2018)
  • This constitutes 14.6% of all learners (from 14.4%)
  • Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are up from 2.8% to 2.9% (253,680 pupils)
  • SEN support is up from 11.6% to 11.7% (1,022,535 pupils)

Spotlight on Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) –

  • Increase in the number of pupils with SpLD from 12.8% to 18.5%
  • Increase in the number of pupils with SLCN from 20.5% to 22.8%

A postcode lottery in identification and support? –

  • Questions again have to be raised about the way SLCN is identified and resourced across the country, for instance at primary school level in Nottinghamshire only 18.8% of SEND learners have a SLCN as a primary need, whilst in North Tyneside this figure rockets to 44.4%.

The link between SEND and Poverty –

  • Pupils with special educational needs remain more likely to be eligible for free school meals – 25.8% compared to 11.5% of pupils without special educational needs.
  • Pupils with statements or EHC plans are more likely to be eligible for free school meals than pupils on SEN support (30.9% compared to 24.5%).

SEND Provision –

  • There is a continued rise in the number of pupils in special schools, up from 43.8% to 44.2%
  • A small decrease in the number of SEN support pupils in secondary, from 34.4% to 33.9%
  • The trend of SEN support pupils in PRUs continues to rise, albeit slowly, from 0.7 in 2010 to 1.1 in 2018.
  • The number of SEND units and resource bases in mainstream schools has decreased by 10% in the last 12 months.

Reflecting on the figures, DYT CEO, Chris Rossiter commented: “The rise in the number of SEND learners attending Special Schools, whilst resource bases in mainstream schools are being cut is concerning and shows that more specialist expertise is needed. Furthermore, the link between SEND pupils and eligibility for free school meals highlights the need to ensure that the government has a fully comprehensive offer to support SEND learners.  At DYT we are working hard, with schools and policy makers, to ensure this becomes a top priority for the Department for Education.”

Read more: 

·         From the DfE: Special educational needs in England: January 2018

·         Schools Week: Five findings from the latest statistics

·         Special Needs Jungle: SEND 2018: More children with SEND, but it’s worse if you’re poor