The number of children with special needs, but without statements, has risen to more than 1.3 million. Figures released this week by the Department for Education and Skills show there are 1,333,400 children in this category, or more than 16 per cent of the school population. The number of pupils with statements fell slightly, to just over 229,000.
In mainstream schools there are more than twice as many boys with statements as girls. Asian children, particularly those from Chinese families, are the least likely to have special needs. Children from traveller or gypsy backgrounds are the most likely, followed by Afro-Caribbean.