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Increase in number of pupils with special educational needs

Tuesday 1st August 2017

The number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in England has increased to 1,244,255 according to the latest Department for Education figures released on Thursday 27 July.

While this is the first increase since 2010, as a proportion of all pupils the figure is stable compared with last year, at 14.4 per cent.

Statistics released earlier this year showed there was a rise in the number of children refused requests for assessment.  In 2016, 14,794 requests for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan were refused - an increase of 3,860 (35.3 per cent) from 2015.

The proportion of pupils with a statement or EHC plan stays the same

There were 242,185 pupils with a statement of SEN or an EHC plan. This was an increase of 5,380 since January 2016, but remained equal to 2.8 per cent of the total pupil population.

A further 1,002,070 pupils were on SEN support. This was equal to 11.6 per cent of the total pupil population and remained unchanged since January 2016. 

The proportion of pupils with a statement or EHC plan at special schools grows

The proportion of pupils with a statement of SEN or an EHC plan at maintained special schools has increased year on year, up from 38.2 per cent in January 2010 to 43.8 per cent in 2017.

The proportion of SEN pupils at primary schools who do not have a statement or EHC plan rises

The percentage of pupils with SEN without statements or EHC plans attending state-funded primary schools increased between January 2010 and January 2017, from 51.4 per cent to 57 per cent.

For state-funded secondary schools, the percentage declined from 43.6 per cent in January 2010 to 34.4 per cent in January 2017.

Got a question about the SEN system?

Use the links below for more information about education support for your child:

Find out more about the SEN reforms in England.

Or find support if your child still has a statement - the current system in Wales.

Information for families in Scotland and Northern Ireland

We also support Northern Ireland and Scotland. Give our helpline a call on 0808 808 3555 for information and advice on any aspect of raising a disabled child, or call your local contact. Find out our details in the In your area section.