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(UK) Isle of Wight: Steady increases in SPED numbers; more students "on the edge"

June 30, 2021, Island Echo: Rise in Number of Isle of Wight Schoolchildren with Education, Health and Care Plan Isle of Wight

The number of schoolchildren on the Isle of Wight with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) has risen by 0.4%, according to the latest statistics. Nationally, the percentage of pupils with an EHCP is 3.7% but here on the Isle of Wight that number is 5%, up from 4.6% previously. The number of children receiving Special Educational Needs (SEN) support on the Island has also risen, from 13.1% to 13.6%. Nationally this figure is 12.2% – 1.4% lower. These latest figures mean that 2,427 Island children and young people are requiring schools to provide much needed additional support from their own individual budgets. Commenting on the statistics, Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary of the National Education Union, says: “Statistics do not tell the full story. How many children are actually in need and are on the edge of adding to these challenging statistics, but receive no extra funding? Are any home educated pupils absent from these figures? “Are children in need swiftly identified? Is SEND adequately supported? Published in March, a study from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) (2) highlights significant inconsistencies in the identification and support children with SEND receive. They concluded: • Many vulnerable pupils are likely to be SEND “under-identified”. • Identification of Academy school pupils with SEND are less likely compared to other similar pupils. • Children living in in disadvantaged areas are less likely to be formally recognised as SEND compared with similar pupils in more affluent areas. The EPI suggests this may highlight “rationing of support” in areas with the greatest need. “We know access to speech and language therapy (SLCN), social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) support has dropped hugely during the pandemic – and that for pupils with SEN support, it has virtually disappeared, confirmed by Ofsted this month. (3) “Thus, the ongoing plans to open resourced provision at Medina College from September for students with SEMH is welcome, especially as any need will have increased further during the pandemic. This new unit will provide up to 15 places eventually. Will it be enough?


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