The latest Government release of data on the number of children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) shows an increase again to a new high of 473,255, up from 430,697 last year (1). This is a 97% increase on 2015.   

  • There has been another 9.9% increase in the total number of EHCPs; this continues the trend of 10% rises year on year. 
  • There is no significant improvement in timelines of EHCPs; the legal 20-week target for issuing new plans has been consistently missed by around 40%, whether pre-pandemic, in the midst of the pandemic, or now emerging from it.   

Funding for pupils with an EHCP has not kept up with the huge rise in need. In order to restore an Education, Health and Care Plan to its real value in 2015-16 would require an additional £3.6bn. The funding gap has increased by another £700m on last year.   

Commenting on the latest statistics, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“The latest release of pupils with high level special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) shows that the government do not have a plan to support children and young people with high level special educational needs and disabilities. The Government continues to underfund SEND education, and its SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper does not contain the scale of ambition required to tackle this crisis. The Government needs to increase resources for local authorities so that they can support schools to provide education for these pupils and fulfil their statutory duties to them.   

“The pandemic has resulted in many more children needing additional support. The Government rejected the conclusions of their recovery tsar, Sir Kevan Collins, and then failed to come up with effective interventions.   

“Parents of SEND children are crying out for this Government to tackle this crisis in provision. Every year the Government delays fundamental change is another year children with SEND fail to get the support they need.” 

Editor’s Note 

  1. Education, health and care plans 
  2. SEND survey report