1,434,000 - Pupils with special needs but no statement

23rd October 2009 at 01:00

In the past four years, the number of pupils with statements of special educational needs has remained fairly constant, falling slightly from 243,000 in 2005 to 222,000 in 2009. Due to changes in the size of the school population, the percentage change was a drop from 2.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent.

By contrast, the number of pupils accepted to have special needs, but who do not have statements, increased during this period, from 14.9 per cent of the school population, to 17.8 per cent. This was an increase of just over 200,000 pupils in four years. These are children covered by guidelines known as School Action or School Action Plus.

There are distinct gender and ethnic differences in pupils diagnosed with special needs. Black pupils are the most likely to have special educational needs at primary school. In secondaries, white, mixed-race and black pupils are most likely to have statements, whereas black pupils are most likely to have special educational needs without statements. Boys are over two-and-a-half times more likely to have a statement than girls. Pupils with special educational needs are much more likely to be eligible for free school meals than non-SEN pupils.

This points to why politicians are so enamoured with the idea of a "pupil premium" approach to funding. Better data collection means help can be targeted where it is needed most. But there is more than one type of special need among pupils. In a period of financial constraint, where governments put the money will depend on what view they take of "equality" or what is needed to create a successful education for all

John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now