Home > Developing Well > Children and young peoples wellbeing > Special Educational Needs

Children with Learning Disabilities and Special Educational Needs

Last Modified 16/04/2019 16:08:18 Share this page

A child or young person has special educational needs and disabilities if they have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support, we shorten this to SEND.

Pupils with special educational needs are classified as follows:

    • SEN Support - Extra or different help is given from that provided as part of the school’s usual curriculum. The class teacher and special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) may receive advice or support from outside specialists. The pupil does not have a statement or education, health and care plan.

    • Statement of special educational needs (statement) or Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan - A pupil has a statement or EHC plan when a formal assessment has been made. A document is in place that sets out the child’s need and the extra help they should receive.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Reforms

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provisions in the Children and Families Act 2014 were introduced on 1 September 2014. An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan now details the education, health and social care support that is to be provided to a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN). It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment has determined that an EHC plan is necessary, and after consultation with relevant partner agencies.

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 gives guidance to health and social care, education and local authorities to make sure that children and young people with SEND are properly supported.

The Code of Practice highlights the clear relationship between population needs, what is procured for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, and individual EHC plans (figure 1). The JSNA considers the needs of the local community as a whole, including specific analysis of the needs of vulnerable groups including disabled children and young people and those with SEN, those needing palliative care and looked after children.

Figure 1: The relationship between population needs, commissioning and individual EHC plans

Figure 1-SEN JSNA process diagram 

Source: DfE, Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years, January 2015

The JSNA will inform the joint commissioning decisions made for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, which will in turn be reflected in the services set out in the local offer. At an individual level, services should co-operate where necessary in arranging the agreed provision in an EHC plan. Partners should consider how they will work to align support delivered through mechanisms such as the early help assessment and how SEN support in schools can be aligned both strategically and operationally. They should, where appropriate, share the costs of support for individual children and young people with complex needs, so that they do not fall on one agency.1 

Facts and figures

Prevalence

The Department for Education (DfE) collects information on the special educational needs (SEN) of all children in maintained schools and special schools. Children not included in these figures are those being educated at home, children educated in independent mainstream schools and children educated in profit making independent special schools. Schools are very aware of children who have particular difficulties in learning. Every term they report to the DfE about all children who have special educational needs and the sort of needs the children have. There are four levels of learning difficulties: specific difficulties (like dyslexia), moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

    • There were 3,592 pupils with statements in schools in Blackpool as at January 2018.2
    • This is 18.9% of the school population and compares to 14.6% nationally.
    • There are significantly more SEND pupils across Blackpool that the national average.
    • 16% of pupils have SEN support and 2.9% have a statement/EHC plan.

Across all schools in Blackpool, the number of pupils with special educational needs has risen for the second consecutive year, from 3,246 (17.1% of pupils) in 2016 to 3,592 (18.9% of pupils) in 2018. Nationally there has been a rise from 14.4% to 14.6% of all pupils over the same period. This follows a period of year on year decreases from 2010 to 2016. The percentage of pupils with SEN Support, that is those identified with special educational needs but no Statement or EHC plan, has followed a similar pattern.

555 pupils have a statement or EHC plan in January 2018. This is a small increase from 543 in 2017. The percent of pupils with a statement or EHC plan has remained fairly constant with only a slight rise since 2016. 

Figure 2: Trend in percent of pupils with SEN support or a statement/EHC plan, England and Blackpool

Figure 2-Trend
Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England: 2018, SEN_2018_LA_tables.xlsx
 
Figure 3: Trend in number of Blackpool pupils with SEN support or a Statement/EHC Plan
  20072008 20092010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 
 SEN support  -  -  4,842  4,739  4,661  4,496  4,237  3,627  2,813  2,759  2,861  3,037
 Statement/EHC Plan  571 548  486  458  455  466  461  445  454  487  543  555 
Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England, 2018

Over half (57%) of Blackpool pupils with SEN are being educated at primary school, 30% are at secondary school and 13% are at the special schools.

Figure 4: Percent (and number) of pupils with spencial educational needs, based on where the pupil attends school, England and Blackpool, January 2018

  England  Blackpool   
  Primary Secondary Special Primary SecondarySpecial 
 SEN support  12.4%  10.6%  2.0%  15.8%   (1,858)  14.7%   (967)  0.9%   (4)
 Statements/EHC Plans  1.4%  1.6%  97.9%  0.6%   (66)  0.7%   (46)  99.1%   (426)
 Total pupils with SEND  13.8%  12.3%  99.9%  16.4%   (1,924)  15.4%   (1,013)  100%   (430)
 Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England, 2018 

Figure 5 shows that Blackpool has a significantly higher proportion of pupils with SEN support than the national average and a lower proportion of pupils with a statement or EHC Plan. Overall Blackpool has significantly higher levels of SEN than the national average.

Figure 5: Percent of pupils with special educational needs in state-funded primary and secondary schools

Figure 4-% pupils send
Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England: 2018, SEN_2018_LA_tables.xlsx

Type of need

There are four levels of learning difficulties: specific difficulties (like dyslexia), moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties. Figure 6 shows the trend in the number of children in every thousand who are recognised as having a learning difficulty.

    • Specific is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occuring difficulties, for example: dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • Moderate: These children have difficulty in all areas of learning. They may have speech and language delay
    • Severe: These children have serious difficulty in participating in ordinary school programs without support. Many have limited communications and self-help skills.
    • Profound: These children have very severe difficulty in learning combined with physical or sensory disabilities. They require a high level of adult support for both learning and personal care needs.

Figure 6: Trend in profound and multiple leaning difficulties, severe learning difficulties and moderate learning difficulties, rate per 1,000 pupils in England and Blackpool

Figure 5-Trend in LD type
Source: PHE Learning Disability Profile

The primary type of need is now collected for all those pupils on SEN support or with a statement/EHC plan. Prior to 2015 only those pupils on School Action Plus were required to record a type of need. This has therefore led to an increase in the number of pupils being recorded as having a type of need from 2015 to 2016

There were also changes to the classification of type of need in 2015: the previous code of ‘Behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD)’ was removed. A new code ‘Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH)’ was introduced, although this was not intended to be  a direct replacement. The code ‘SEN support but no specialist assessment of type of need’ was also introduced in 2015. Due to the changes in coverage and classification, it is not possible to produce a direct comparison with data prior to 2015.

Across Blackpool, Speech, Language and Communication Needs was the most common primary type of need overall at 27.1% in January 2018. This percentage has increased from 25.8% in 2017 when it was also the most common primary type of need. Nationally, Moderate Learning Difficulties is the most common primary type of need.

Figure 7: Percentage of all SEN pupils by primary type of need, England and Blackpool, 2018

Figure 6-SEN by type of need
Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England: 2018, SEN_2018_LA_tables.xlsx

There are clear differences in the primary type of need recorded between primary, secondary and special schools. Within primary education, two fifths of pupils have some kind of communication need recorded as the primary reason for SEN in Blackpool. This is significantly higher than the national average of 30%. Figure 8 shows over 80% of SEN within local primary schools is made up of Speech, Language and Communication Needs, Moderate Learning Difficulties and Social, Emotional and Mental Health.

At secondary school level half of SEN is made up of Specific or Moderate Learning Difficulties and a further third is Social, Emotional and Mental Health or Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

As expected, the types of need recorded at the special schools is very different to those recorded for the mainstream schools. Severe and Moderate Learning Difficulties are the primary type of need for almost half of the children, more than a quarter are Autistic and 13% have a Physical Disability.

Figure 8: Percentage of SEN pupils (either on SEN support or with a statement/EHC plan) by primary type of need, Blackpool primary, secondary and special state-funded schools, January 2018

Figure 7-% pupils by primary need-pie charts

Figure 9: Percent of SEN pupils by primary type of need, England and Blackpool, 2018
 England  Blackpool  
 PrimarySecondarySpecialPrimarySecondarySpecial
Pupils   with SEND         61,973         83,936            1,770 1,924 1,013 430
Specific LD 9.5 21.0 1.5 5.8 25.0 2.1
Moderate LD 22.2 22.9 13.5 25.6 25.4 21.9
Severe LD 0.6 0.5 22.4 0.3 0.1 23.7
Profound & Multiple LD 0.3 0.1 7.4 0.0 0.0 1.2
Social, Emotional, MH 15.9 18.9 12.6 17.8 21.2 4.9
Speech/Language/ Comm. 29.8 11.3 6.8 40.2 11.6 5.1
Hearing Impairment 1.7 2.3 1.2 1.5 2.7 0.2
Visual Impairment 0.9 1.3 0.7 1.3 2.1 0.2
Multi-Sensory Impairment 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.9 0.0
Physical Disability 2.9 3.0 3.4 2.9 5.1 12.8
Autistic Spectrum 7.3 9.7 28.5 3.0 3.0 27.4
Other Difficulty/Disability 4.0 6.3 1.6 1.2 2.9 0.5
SEN support  4.4 2.5 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.0
Source: DfE, Special educational needs in England: 2018

Educational attainment of pupils with special educational needs

The data shows that attainment for Blackpool pupils with SEN is largely in line with national averages at primary level but not so good at Key Stage 4 level. This is also the picture for pupils with no identified SEN. More detailed information on achievement by SEN can be found in the School Life section.

 


[1] DfE, Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years, January 2015

[2] DfE, Special educational needs in England, 2018. [SEN_2018_LA_tables.xls]