June 29, 2022, Mirror: Number of young kids struggling with speech and language skills on the rise after Covid Over 3,000 more young children needed extra help to develop vital communication skills this year, compared to 2019. Schools watchdog Ofsted has said some pandemic babies have 'limited vocabulary' https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/number-young-kids-struggling-speech-27350605
Rising numbers of young kids are struggling with speech and language skills in the wake of the pandemic, new analysis shows.
Over 3,000 more young children needed extra help to develop vital communication skills this year, compared to 2019.
Government data reveals a shocking 7% increase in children under 4-years-old receiving extra help particularly for speech and language.
Schools watchdog Ofsted has said some pandemic babies have "limited vocabulary" while others "struggled to respond to basic facial expressions".
Shadow Children's Minister Helen Hayes told the Mirror: "The Government’s failure to deliver an ambitious recovery plan for our youngest children is already holding some back."
It comes as the number of children in England approaching councils for special needs support has increased by almost a quarter in a year - with 170 young people now starting support plans each day.
The Local Government Association called for emergency action to ensure the rising demand is met, with councils struggling to manage soaring costs which outstrip the SEND budgets available to them.
The number of initial requests for an Education, Health and Care plan, setting out the individual support a child needs, jumped by 23% to 93,302 in 2021, according to the latest figures.
The LGA said there were 62,180 new EHC plans made in the last year, equal to 170 children and young people starting a plan each day.
There are now nearly half a million - 473,255 - young people on the plans, an increase of over 100% since eligibility for SEND support was extended to those aged 16 to 25 in 2014. The Government is consulting over proposed SEND reforms set out in a green paper earlier in the year.