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(UK) England: Over half a million kids have SPED plans; "we are better at diagnosing"

June 27, 2023, Guardian: Children’s special educational needs are not being met

There are a number of reasons why just over half a million children and young people in England have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), more than twice as many as eight years ago (180 pupils a day in England given special needs support plan, 21 June). First, there are more than 9 million school-aged children in England; having around 5% with an EHCP does not seem disproportionate. It suggests perhaps that, in previous years, children’s special educational needs and disabilities (Send) have gone unaddressed.

The figures also suggest that schools are not able to adequately meet the needs of children, that children’s special educational needs have changed (possibly as a result of Covid and resultant mental health issues such as anxiety), and that we are becoming better at diagnosing educational needs that have previously gone unaddressed.

My daughter is one of those children struggling to get their needs addressed and awaiting an EHC needs assessment. Twenty years ago I led a charity’s policy and campaigns department working on this issue. Now, from a personal perspective, I can see that little has changed and that parents still have to battle for their child’s educational rights. My daughter is now educated at an independent school online, where 25% of the pupils have Send. This also suggests that the mainstream system is inadequately addressing children’s educational needs.


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