***(UK) Staffordshire sees 33% increase in SPED in five years; 'early identifying' cited

Jan 5, 2019, Wolverhampton Express and Star: Children with special educational needs up 33 per cent in Staffordshire The number of children and young people classed as having special educational needs and disabilities in Staffordshire has risen by a third in the past five years, it has been revealed. Better identification of special educational needs could be one of the reasons for the increase, county councillors have been told. But there are concerns that overall children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) do not achieve as well as other children in Staffordshire. The number of pupils with Education, Health and Care plans (EHCPs) has also risen year on year…. A report to the committee said: “The total SEND population has increased by 33 per cent over the last five years. The number of pupils with EHCPs has also continued to rise year on year. In the 2018 SEN2 Census, Staffordshire had a total of 4,456 children with EHCPS. This has now increased to over 4,700. “In Staffordshire, we currently see more children with special educational needs attend special schools than elsewhere in the country, and fewer attend mainstream schools….. Committee member Councillor John Francis said: “A 33 per cent increase in five years is a massive amount of children. I can’t comprehend why that has suddenly happened – the only thing I can think of is we’re identifying pupils early. “It’s certainly putting a lot more pressure on schools. Have we got the resources to do what we need to do?” … “The reasons can be numerous. The increase in EHCPs is because parents see it as the only option for them to get that official documentation. “Since the change from statements (of SEN) to EHCPs criteria has changed a bit. Previously a young person with behavioural issues was not included. They do now. … “Exclusions from education are a lot higher than they should be and a lot of those young people