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Number of pupils with severe needs still falling in mainstream schools

The number of children with severe learning difficulties sent to mainstream schools has fallen again, Government statistics show.

Last year, 55.6 per cent of pupils with statements were sent to a mainstream state school. At the beginning of this year, the figure had fallen to 54.9 per cent.

This year, 220,890 - 2.7 per cent of pupils with special educational needs across all schools in England - had statements of SEN. There are 1.4 million pupils with learning difficulties who do not have statements.

A total of 62 per cent of children who have received a statement for the first time this year have been sent to mainstream schools while 23.6 per cent attend special school.

Official statistics show that 76.2 per cent of maintained primary schools and 56.6 per cent of state-funded secondary schools had less than 2 per cent of pupils with statements of SEN.

They also show that in 67 schools in England, more than 50 per cent of the pupils are registered as having SEN. At 50 schools. more than half of pupils have statements.

Tara Flood, director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, said: "We want to be in the position where disabled children or those with learning difficulties can attend mainstream school in the certainty they will get the support they need.

"In an ideal world, they shouldn't need a statement to get this, but at the moment many parents feel they need to fight for it because it gives them the legal framework."

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