Sharp rise in children needing SEND support

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.

These latest figures come as the Government is currently consulting over its proposed special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms, set out earlier this year.

The LGA says emergency action is needed now, to help meet the rising demand for SEND support.

It is calling on the Government to scrap the ‘high needs’ deficits councils have built up, because the spiralling costs of providing support is outstripping councils’ SEND budgets.

New figures show the number of initial requests for an education, health and care plan (EHCP), which sets out SEND support for each individual, fell to 75,951 in 2020 – following four consecutive years of increases – partly due to the pandemic. 

This then jumped by 23 per cent to 93,302 in 2021, with 62,180 new EHCPs made in the past year.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The fact that 170 children and young people with SEND are starting EHCPs each day demonstrates the huge pressures councils are under to ensure every child gets the very best support that meets their needs.

“While it was good the Government set out much-needed reforms to tackle where the current SEND system is not working, these will take time to be implemented.

“Action is needed now to help councils meet the rising demand and spiralling costs of providing support that they are seeing on a daily basis.”


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