Latest SEND Stats for Bristol City Council

Send Statistics Bristol

Send Statistics England

The latest Send figures have been released by the Department for Education this week, showing that the number of pupils with special educational needs (Sen) has increased. According to the January 2019 school census, 1,318,300 pupils were recorded as having Sen, a figure which has increased for the third year in a row.

A total of 271,200 pupils or 14.9 per cent of the whole pupil population of England, now has an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) with a further 1,047,200 or 11.9 per cent receiving Sen support.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs account for the most common primary need across England, followed by Moderate Learning Difficulty and Social, Emotional and Mental Health. In fourth place was Specific Learning Difficulty followed by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

When it comes to primary need with EHCPs, Autism Specturm Disorder is the most common, with 29 per cent of pupils with the condition requiring the support plan.

In second place for EHCP need came Speech Language and Communication Needs at 15 per cent, followed by Social, Emotional and Mental Health at 13.3 per cent and then Severe Learning Difficulty at 11.9 per cent.

There is a large disparity when it comes to what the DfE calls ‘gender’. Special Educational Needs is ‘more prevalent in boys than girls’ suggesting that girls are still not getting the help they need. A 4.4 per cent of boys had an EHCP compared to just 1.7 per cent of girls. Boys were almost twice as likely to be on SEN support than girls at 15 per cent compared to 8 per cent.

Send Statistics Bristol

Bristol Send statistics were among those released this week by the Department for Education. The number of on-roll children in Bristol schools with Send and the type of Send was collected through the school census, general hospital census and school-level annual school census in January this year. It showed the following information:

The number of school children in Bristol and the percentage of them with a statement or EHCP by year: The number of children in the results includes all academies including free schools, state-funded and non-maintained special schools, middle schools, all-through schools, city technology colleges, university technology colleges, studio schools, direct grant nursery schools, pupil referral units and general hospital schools.

ehcp stats Bristol

The number of school pupils in Bristol has increased year upon year. The number of pupils with a statement or EHCP has fluctuated, but the percentage of those children with an EHCP within the wider school population has clearly dropped.

‘There has been a significant increase in the number of requests for statutory assessment over the last three years,’ the 2019 Resourcing Plan for SEND Function states. This has affected Bristol City Council’s ‘capacity to deliver’ and ‘not kept pace with demand’. The result of this was a failure to meet statutory timescales.

But, there is also another story going on here. The Resourcing Plan for SEND Function also says that requests for assessment increased from 247 in 2017 to 547 in 2018, which is an increase of 81 per cent.

The School Census data for Bristol, shows that in 2017, there were 1642 pupils with an EHCP, a figure that dropped to 1606 in 2018. Requests for assessment may have increased, but fewer EHCP were held overall. In January 2019, the percentage of pupils holding EHCPs was exactly the same as 2017, with a dip occurring in 2018.

During the dip year of 2018, Bristol City Council says that the percentage of assessments resulting in an EHCP rose to 75 per cent from the 47 per cent in 2016. The figures do not make sense.

Comparing Bristol as an LA to others in the South West, the percentage of Pupils holding an EHCP in January 2019 was far below the England average, with Bristol second to last out of all South West LAs.

It would be expected that the percentage of pupils having an EHCP would definitely rise over the years considering that from 2014, EHCPs were available for those aged 18-25.

As Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees is so fond of saying, there was an ‘unprecedented number of requests’ for EHCPs during the summer of 2018, but what we are actually seeing is the number of EHCPs held by Bristol children going down in relation to the entire school population of the city.

South West EHCP statistics


Bristol Pupils Below England Figures For EHCPs

The number of pupils in Bristol holding EHCPs in 2019 for both primary and secondary school aged children was below the average for England. What is interesting about this figure is that the number of children in primary and secondary on SEN Support (not holding an EHCP) was much higher than across England overall, but dramatically so for secondary school.

The number of pupils with EHCPs or SEN support England compared to Bristol by school type:
This includes all academies including free schools, state-funded and non-maintained special schools, middle schools, all-through schools, city technology colleges, university technology colleges, studio schools and general hospital schools. It excludes nursery schools, independent schools and pupil referral units.

England
Total number of pupils in primary schools in England: 4,727,089
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans:74,404 or 1.6 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN support:595,708 or 12.6 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN:670,112 or 14.2 per cent

Total number of pupils in secondary schools in England: 3,327,970
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans: 55,233 or 1.7 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN support: 358,555 or 10.8 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN:413,788 or 12.4 per cent

Total number of pupils in special schools in England: 124,423
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans:122,268 or 98.3 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN support: 2,014 or 1.6 per cent
Total number of pupils with SEN:124,282 or 99.9 per cent

Bristol
Total number of pupils in primary schools in Bristol: 36,818
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans:237 or 0.6 per cent Below England Average of 1.6
Total number of pupils with SEN support:4,737 or 12.9 per cent Above England Average of 12.6
Total number of pupils with SEN:4,974 or 13.5 per cent Below England Average of 14.2

Total number of pupils in Secondary schools in Bristol: 21,907
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans:341 or 1.6 per cent Below England Average of 1.7
Total number of pupils with SEN support:2,933 or 13.4 per cent Above England Average of 10.8
Total number of pupils with SEN:3,274 or 14.9 per cent Above England Average of 12.4

Total number of pupils in special schools in Bristol: 985
Total number of pupils with statements or EHCP plans:970 or 98.5 per cent Above England Average of 98.3
Total number of pupils with SEN support:15 or 1.5 per cent Below England Average of 1.6
Total number of pupils with SEN:985 or 100 per cent Above England Average of 99.9 

In total, of all the 68,385 Bristol children at school in January this year, 1,676 – a 2.5 per cent – had an EHCP. An 8,930 or 13.1 per cent were on SEN support and a total of 10,606 or 15.5 per cent had SEN.

Types of Send Need in Bristol

The 2019 Strategic Case for SEND Capital Expenditure, by Bristol City Council submitted to July Cabinet, says that although Bristol’s population has increased since 2004 which meant primary and secondary school places were expanded, ‘specialist educational placements have not increased in order to meet the rising numbers of pupils’.

This leaves much of the Bristol specialist school placement figures questionable. The true number of children with Send in Bristol is hard to pin down due to issues such as off-rolling and children out of education due to a lack of special school places in the city.

One major issue highlighted in the SEN need broken down by type is a failure to provide suitable provision for pupils with dyslexia.

The May 2019 Timpson Review, which looked at disproportionate exclusion rates of certain children in England, included dyslexia as Send for the purposes of looking at Send exclusion.

There is no school provision in Bristol for the Specific Learning Difficulty. There’s no academies, no free schools or state-funded special schools in Bristol providing education for dyslexia as a first need. There is no dyslexia team at the council, with schools expected to buy in educational psychology services to support children and yet, dyslexia is a Send that is considered by the Timpson Review as a risk for exclusion.

We have not been able to track down the number of children in Bristol who are school phobic and school refuse as a result of unsupported Send such as dyslexia. These children are often marked as unauthorised on the school register leaving the parent liable for a fine.

There is one oversubscribed independent dyslexia school with approximately 40 places. During EHC Needs Assessments, members of Bristol City Council’s SEN Team told parents that children wouldn’t be placed in this kind of private provision – something I was told directly on the phone to the team on two occasions and echoed by some professionals undertaking the Needs Assessment process. This is completely untrue.

In Bristol primary schools, there were 454 children in the January 2019 census with dyslexia as a primary need. In secondary, there were 789 and in special schools there were 16. This is potentially leaving up to 1,243 children in the city without the specialist support they need in mainstream.

When it came to mainstream secondary schools, a 342 pupils had autism and 670 had Social, Emotional and mental Health as a primary need. This is problematic for the Bristol SEN Team who are trying to commission places for pupils following a statutory assessment who are finding that ‘settings are full’. Bristol School Forum papers confirm that for ASD and SEMH, settings are operating at ‘capacity’.

The number and percentage of primary school children in Bristol with SEN broken down by type:
Results show the primary need of pupils.
Specific Learning Difficulty (Such as Dyslexia): 454 or 9.1 per cent
Moderate Learning Difficulty: 746 of 15 per cent
Severe Learning Difficulty: 22 or 0.4 per cent
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty: 20 or 0.4 per cent
Social, Emotional and Mental Health: 924 or 18.6 per cent
Speech, Language and Communication Needs: 1,662 or 33.4 per cent
Hearning Impairment: 86 or 1.7 per cent
Visual Impairment: 41 or 0.8 per cent
Multi-Sensory Impairment: 22 or 0.4 per cent
Physical Disability: 166 or 3.3 per cent
Autism Spectrum Condition: 417 or 8.4 per cent
Other Difficulty/Disability: 171 or 3.4 per cent
SEN support by no specialist assessment of type of need: 243 or 4.9 per cent
Total children 4,974

The number and percentage of secondary school children in Bristol with SEN broken down by type:
These numbers includes state-funded and non-maintained special schools and special academies, including free schools. The excludes nursery schools, independent schools, general hospital schools and pupil referral units.

Specific Learning Difficulty (Such as Dyslexia): 789 or 24.1 per cent
Moderate Learning Difficulty: 334 or 10.2 per cent
Severe Learning Difficulty: 7 or 0.2 per cent
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty: 2 or 0.1 per cent
Social, Emotional and Mental Health: 670 or 20.5 per cent
Speech, Language and Communication Needs: 611 or 18.7 per cent
Hearing Impairment: 68 or 2.1 per cent
Visual Impairment: 31 or 0.9 per cent
Multi-Sensory Impairment: 3 or 0.1 per cent
Physical Disability: 106 or 3.2 per cent
Autism Spectrum Condition: 342 or 10.4 per cent
Other Difficulty/Disability: 223 or 6.8 per cent
SEN support by no specialist assessment of type of need: 88 or 2.7 per cent
Total children: 3274

The number and percentage of special school children in Bristol with SEN broken down by type:
Specific Learning Difficulty (Such as Dyslexia): 16 or 1.6 per cent
Moderate Learning Difficulty: 42 or 4.3 per cent
Severe Learning Difficulty: 121 or 12.3 per cent
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty: 80 or 8.1 per cent
Social, Emotional and Mental Health: 249 or 25.3 per cent
Speech, Language and Communication Needs: 54 or 5.5 per cent
Hearing Impairment: 37 or 3.8 per cent
Visual Impairment: 3 or 0.3 per cent
Multi-Sensory Impairment: 5 or 0.5 per cent
Physical Disability: 18 or 1.8 per cent
Autism Spectrum Condition: 350 or 35.5 per cent
Other Difficulty/Disability: 10 or 1.0 per cent
SEN support by no specialist assessment of type of need: 0
Total children: 985

Minutes of Bristol Schools’ Forum on 20 March 2018, noted that Fixed Term Exclusions in Bristol are the highest in the country for both primary and secondary schools. Alternative Provision (AP) is full – Bristol has the highest use of AP outside of London. But interestingly, it said that ‘Too many children with an EHCP are in a special school and should be in a mainstream’.

The Bristol Schools’ Forum papers for 25 September 2018 contradicts this somewhat. The High Needs Block report from Mary Taylor, Emilie Williams-Jones and David Tully says that expensive Send placements are made because there are ‘no special school places’. Clearly, the special school placements that were made that had been ‘unsuccessful’ suggests that children are being put into unsuitable provision because of this.

 

The same report goes on to explain that permanent exclusion rates are high in Bristol, yet EHCPs in mainstream primary is low. Whilst this might suggest that urgent intervention is needed by issuing much needed EHCPs, the council instead decided to invest a huge amount of time in the creation of problematic non-statutory Bristol SEND Support Plans by the Inclusion in Education Group – formerly the Inclusion Reference Group who masterminded some of the unlawful cuts to the High Needs Block which led to Judicial Review.

Poor identification of pupils with Send was also identified by the 2018 Peer Review of SEND, although perhaps more frightening is the ‘lack of ambition for education attainment’. This is something that is clearly obvious in the above average figures for children in both Bristol primary and secondary having SEN Support, but clearly dramatically so in secondary.

Clearly the figures again raise more questions than they answer, with Bristol Send parents fearing a cover-up about what has really happened to Send in Bristol during the last nine years. Paperwork is contradictory, exclusions in the city have been historically high and AP is the highest outside of London. Early identification of Send is not happening in primary school with Bristol secondary schools having high numbers of children on SEN Support. The number of EHC Needs Assessments are ‘unprecedented’ yet children are clearly missing out on education and the number of EHCPs held by Bristol children has decreased against the rise of the school population.

Ahead of Cabinet this week, Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills was keen to acknowledge that more needed to be done to address issues with Send provision in the city.

She said: “We are working on long-term, sustainable solutions to address the issues in our current SEND activities. We are not responsible for the level of funding available to Bristol’s children with SEND. We stand united with local families and schools in highlighting the national funding shortage and will continue to make the case to the government.”

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