FLSE News Update September 2017


Special Educational Needs in England – Statistical First Release – DfE – 27th July 2017

Late in July, the Department for Education (DfE) published their Special Educational Needs in England 2017 statistics. The key messages were:

  • An increase of 15,470 pupils identified as SEN (2016: 1,228,785 2017: 1,244,255)
  • An increase of 5,380 pupils with a statement or EHCP (2016: 236,805 2017: 242,185)
  • Primary type of need for SEN Support was Moderate Learning Difficulties (25.2%)
  • Primary type of need for statement/EHCP was Autistic Spectrum Disorder (26.9%)
  • An increase in the number of pupils with statement/EHCP attending special school
  • An increase in the number of pupils on SEN Support in Independent Schools

This is the first year since 2010 that we have seen a rise in the number of pupils identified as SEN. This is partly due to the overall increase in the number of pupils in the system, including those aged 0-5 and 16-25. The percentage of pupils with SEN remains at 14.4%.

Just over 10,000 of these new pupils are identified as requiring SEN Support. This could be due to a number of factors:

  • Schools are more confident at identifying SEN in primary years
  • More pupils are entering school with more complex needs that require additional/different provision
  • The changes to curriculum and assessment have resulted in schools identifying more pupils not meeting expected standard at KS1 and KS2.

The remaining 5,380 new pupils have been issued an Education, Health and Care Plan in 2016 – due to the overall increase in the number of pupils in the system especially at 16+ the percentage has remained static at 2.8% since 2007.


Schools, pupils and their characteristics: Statistic First Release – DfE – January 2017

This is the information collected in the January 2017 school census, including the number of schools and pupils.

The key messages are:

  • The number of pupils across all school types rose by 110,000
  • 4,400 more pupils in special schools
  • Increase of 8 state funded primary schools and 7 state funded secondary schools
  • Decrease in special schools (2 fewer), pupil referral units (2 fewer) and independent schools (14 fewer)
  • Nearly 3.4 million pupils now attend academies and free schools. Over 2.2 million of these are in secondary schools (68.9% of all secondary school pupils) and over 1.1 million in primary schools (24.3% of all primary school pupils)
  • 1 million are in special and alternative provision academies

Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) Access Arrangement Regulations 2017 – 2018

JCQ have recently published the latest access arrangement regulations for 2017-2018.


Independent special schools and colleges – Dfe – August 2017

DfE have recently published their updated list of Independent schools for pupils with special educational needs, including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act.


Ofsted/CQC Local Area Inspections

By the end of the summer term 37 local area inspections have been completed and outcome letters produced. 12 of these local areas had been required to produce a Written Statement of Action because of the significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice.

The letters published over the summer are Bury, Cornwall, Enfield, Gloucestershire, Rutland, Wakefield and Windsor and Maidenhead.

More information can be found on the Ofsted website.


Secondary school staff to receive mental health ‘first aid’ training

From June 2017, teachers in secondary schools around the country will take part in a new training programme to help them identify and respond to early signs of mental health issues in children.

The programme, backed in the first year by £200,000 in government funding, and delivered by the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid, will start with 1,000 staff and extend in years 2 and 3 to cover every secondary school in England. They will receive practical advice on how to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, suicide and psychosis, self-harm, and eating disorders.

They will also be invited to become ‘first aid champions’, sharing their knowledge and experiences across schools and communities to raise awareness and break down stigma and discrimination.


Social Media and Children’s Mental Health: A Review of the Evidence – Education Policy Institute – June 2017

In this report the Education Policy Institute investigates what is known so far about the relationship between young people’s use of social media and their emotional and mental wellbeing.



Ofsted School inspection update: academic year 2017 to 2018

A special edition of the update produced by Sean Harford – National Director, Education to all Inspectors was published earlier this month.

Main messages for Inspectors:

1. 2017 marks a year of significant changes to GCSE examinations. Inspectors should not compare results from last year with results this year for the new GCSEs. For secondary school inspections, please call the data analysts, who will help you to understand these changes.

2. There will be some variability in attainment at school level as a result of changes to the qualifications and numerical grading. However, overall, the outcomes of the 2017 GCSE results are stable. Small fluctuations from previous years at school level should not be over interpreted; talk to our analysts about the significance of any variation.

3. At A level, the results for both the reformed and non-reformed qualifications are also stable. There has been no major variability in results at national level. Small fluctuations at provider level should not be over-interpreted.

4. Changes in specifications, assessment and examinations may result in changes in the behaviours of schools. Always consider whether decisions made by leaders and managers are in the best interests of pupils.

5. Assessment data and information is only a starting point for discussion with schools. It is far from the only piece of evidence that informs judgements about outcomes.

6. Inspectors will use ‘meaningful data’ to inform areas for investigation. They will not focus on single measures with small cohorts.

7. Inspectors should continue to treat data from teacher assessments at the end of key stage 2 with caution.


Closing the Gap? Trends in Educational Attainment and Disadvantage – Education Policy Institute – Jon Edwards, David Robinson and Jo Hutchinson – August 2017

This report considers the attainment gaps between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, as well as looking at gaps associated with other pupil characteristics.

The report highlights both the progress which has been made in narrowing gaps over the last decade, and the significant challenges that still have to be faced.



The wellbeing of secondary school pupils with SEN – Matt Barnes and Eric Harrison – Department of Sociology, City University of London


The promotion of good wellbeing is seen as a way to help children and young people to achieve their potential, and to prepare them for happy and healthy adult lives. Understanding the wellbeing of children and young people has become increasingly salient in both academic research and public policy debates in the last decade. Despite this, there is a lack of research that has specifically looked at the wellbeing of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Children with SEN may experience their school and family life in a way that is distinct from those without SEN, for instance they are at greater risk of being bullied (Chatzitheochari et al, 2014), and being excluded or having absences from school (DfE, 2016a) – as well as have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. This report attempts to fill this research gap by exploring the wellbeing of secondary school-age children with SEN.


Supporting Mental Health in Schools and Colleges – NatCen Social Research & the National Children’s Bureau Research and Policy Team – August 2017

This report provides a summary of the key findings from the Department for Education (DfE) research into mental health provision in schools and colleges. The research included a national survey of provision, and case studies exploring decision-making, models of delivery and experiences of different approaches to mental health provision followed by a workshop to consolidate learning from the research. This report summarises part of a wider, mixed methods project exploring mental health and character education provision in schools and colleges across England.


SEND Events

Whole School SEND Strategy Summit – Church House – Westminster – Wednesday 20th September


TES SEN Show – Business Design Centre, Islington, London – Friday 6th October and Saturday 7th October


GL Assessment SEN Conference – the Studio, Lever street, Manchester – Wednesday 8th November


ResearchSEND Conference – Sheffield Hallam University – Saturday 18th November