Special Educational Needs
The term ‘Special Educational Needs’ specifically refers to children and young people who meet the definition given by the national SEND Code of Practice:
“a child or young person aged 0-25 has special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them”.
However, disability can be defined in different ways, in particular, in planning health and social care settings. The statutory definition of disability in the UK comes from the Equality Act (2010):
“a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”.
Somerset SEND Needs Assessment
To inform commissioning of local services, the SEND Improvement Board in Somerset initiated a SEND Needs Assessment. The Improvement Board includes members of Somerset County Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups, health providers, education providers, and representatives from parent-carer groups.
The following headlines are taken from the latest Needs Assessment, and are categorised by area of responsibility. Underlying data and analysis is available within the full report.
Children, Young People and their Families, Health and Well-being Board and Commissioners
- Somerset has a higher than regional and National average of young people with SEND, at 15.4%. This equates to approximately 12,000 children and young people. Regional (15.2%) and National (14.4%).
- Somerset’s population is estimated to grow by 5,426 aged under 16 by 2022. The biggest increase will be seen at secondary level. This is in line with many LAs nationally.
- Somerset has fewer children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), 1.8%, than Regional or National however this does not include children who receive High needs funding. Together these children form 3.2%, which is above Regional and National average and suggests that Somerset are over identifying children and young people with SEND. Regional 2.7% and 2.8% National.
- People claiming ESA/ incapacity benefits is the same as regional average but less than National, this suggests that families may not know which benefits they are entitled to. Somerset and regional 5.3%, National 6.1%.
- There are significant differences in the SEND Need types in Somerset, compared to national averages including: a lower proportion of children with Moderate Learning Disability (MLD), a higher proportion of children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and a lower proportion with Autism Spectrum condition (ASC). This suggests that Local area partners are not accurately identifying and accurately assessing needs.
- There are more children identified with Social emotional and health needs in Somerset than other LAs, with the highest identification of speech, language and communication needs in the early years, changing to social emotional and mental health needs at age 5-16. This suggests that children’s needs are not identified accurately and that schools focus on children and young people who display challenging behaviour or persistently disruptive behaviour.
Clinical Commissioning Group and Health Partners
- 80% increase in outpatient activity from 2011 to 2016/17.
- 32% of Integrated Therapy Service appointments are held within School settings.
- Somerset has significantly fewer children and young people identified with Autism (7.4%) than the Regional or National. This suggests that Somerset partners are not recognising and identifying children and young people who may have autism accurately. Regional 11.10% and 12.5% National.
Early Years, Schools and Further Education
- There are less children in Somerset state-funded schools than regional or National. In Somerset’s state-funded schools there are 9,820 pupils with SEND, representing 14% of all pupils (69,200). Regional (14.9%) and National (14.2%).
- Young people with SEND in Somerset are more likely to continue with their education and training than regional or national. There are more Young people with SEND in Education, Employment or Training (EET) than National averages, and data suggests that they are more likely to sign up to an apprenticeship than National and Regional. 93% of pupils with an EHCP at KS4 remain in Education or Training. This is higher than both the Regional (90%) and National (90%).
- Children with SEND in Early years make a good level of progress and this is above Regional and National average.
- KS1 2018 performance for SEND pupils in Somerset has improved and is better than National and South West region. Overall performance of pupils with EHCP dropped in 2017 but improved in 2018.
- Somerset KS2 2018 performance for SEND pupils has improved from 2017, this is the same as regional but below the National average. The improvement at KS2 includes an increase for pupils with an EHCP but shows a reduction from early years progress. Somerset 18%, Regional (18%), National (20%).
- Pupils with an EHCP at Key stage 4 do better than pupils regionally and Nationally on attainment 8 scores.
- The total number of exclusions (fixed term and permanent) of Somerset SEND pupils was broadly unchanged in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17 however had increased significantly from 2015/16. The most common reason for exclusion remains persistent disruptive behaviour.
- Somerset has a higher than National average of children and young people placed in Independent schools, non-maintained special schools, both day and residential, with the highest proportion being day placements.
- Currently 229 children who are Electively Home Educated (EHE) have SEN; this represents 2% of children in Somerset who have SEND.
- In 2016 Somerset County Council held a thematic review of the LAs maintained special schools and resource bases as there was insufficient places in the right location. Over the next 5 years Somerset specialist provision will be transformed with an additional 240 special school places being provided as part of a £34m capital investment programme.
Children’s and Adults Services
- Somerset is below Regional and National average for numbers of Children Looked After. In the 2016/17 academic year, in Somerset 42.2% of looked after children received SEN support, compared to the national average of 29.1%.
- And 28.9% of looked after children in Somerset in 2016/17 had a Statement or an EHCP, compared to the national average of 28.2%.
- In the 2016/17 academic year, the percentage of Children in Need in Somerset with SEN support was 33.4%, much higher than the national average of 25.4%. However, the percentage of Children in Need in Somerset with a Statement or EHCP was 12.9%, much lower than the national average of 21.4% and is related to the previous funding system.
- Detailed figures on SEN by Local Authority are available on the Department for Education website
- For information about the attainment and achievement of pupils with special educational needs see our School Attainment
- For maps showing rates of SEND by Ward, please see our Dashboard.
- For other information relating to children and young people, including the Somerset Children and Young People Plan, please go here.