Investigating the special education system 2: what the data shows

This summer, the Department for Education (DfE) provided a statistical breakdown of special education system. The data throws up some interesting points, here’s two:

1)      The number of children granted statements of special educational need has decreased steadily over the past four years.

Statements of special educational need, which are notoriously difficult to obtain, outline a child’s needs and specify how these should be met. They are legally binding documents which enable parents to hold Local Authorities (LAs) to account. Given that Ofsted has criticised teachers using the term SEN too liberally (many SEN children do not have statements), it is interesting that the numbers of parents successfully obtaining statements is decreasing. Is it harder for parents to convince LA of their children’s needs? If so, what does this tell us about Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather’s  plans to scrap the statementing system.

2)      While on average around 69% of statemented children are placed in mainstream schools, there are huge variations between LAs.

In Cornwall nearly 90% of statemented children attend mainstream school, a figure which has remained fairly constant since 2006. This contrasts significantly with LAs such as Leicester and Hertfordshire, where around 60% of statemented children receive mainstream education.

But variations in specialist provision aren’t merely a symptom of the rural or urban nature of communities. Rather, the DfE data also demonstrates variations between LAs within London. While in Kingston upon Thames the proportion of statemented children taught in mainstream schools has grown steadily to 83% in 2010, in Havering the same figure remains at 54%.

I plan to follow up these two points by researching:

  • The numbers of appeals made by parents who disagree with their Local Authority’s decision not to provide their child with a statement of SEN – and the number of appeals which were successful.
  • The availability of special schools within rural communities

I’ll list the results in my next post, but please get in touch if you have experience of the statmenting system system – my email is ratcliffe.rc [at]

This entry was posted in Community question, Data and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Investigating the special education system 2: what the data shows

Comments are closed.