Specialist SEN Solicitor
5th July 2021
Don't give somebody your advice unless you are specifically asked for it...
How often we become so eager and forthcoming to give our advice to someone about what they should do or say in any given situation, even though they have not specifically asked us for what we think! Yes, a person may be telling us about a problem that they have; and yes, it may seem that they are asking us what we think, but it is always far too easy for us to proffer our thoughts to them, even though they have not specifically asked us for them.
The advice we may be offering them may, in fact, be good; but it is not enough for us to say it, they also need to be prepared to hear it. In fact, giving advice when you are not asked for it, can even sometimes be counterproductive, as if the other person is just telling us something because that they want to get it off their chest and unburden themselves, if you then offer them your advice without being asked for it, they my actually become upset with you, because they may feel that you have spoken out of turn. So they may sometimes get defensive and end up doing exactly the opposite of what you are saying!
Also, even if you are fairly sure that they are, in fact, genuinely asking for your advice or your perspective, please be careful to always try to understand before you advise. Remember what I said previously about 'active listening'. Make sure you are really hearing what they are saying, not just projecting onto them what you think they have said, or what you would like them to have said.
If you don't do all of this, you may find that, to them, you are actually not helping and then just making a bad situation even worse!
In this week's SEN Update, you will find sections entitled:
I know how busy everyone always is, so please feel free just to read the sections that are of interest to you or read everything; the choice is always yours.
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MORE SEN STATISTICS
The Department for Education (DfE) published more statistics this week on SEN, entitled: 'National statistics on special educational needs in England' (not to be confused with the statistics that they issued last week!)
They cover the statistics on pupils with SEN, including information on educational attainment, destinations, absence, exclusions, and characteristics.
The contents say they cover the following issues:
Of course, you can read them for yourself here if you want to, but I thought today that I would look at the third of these issues, the analysis of children with SEN' in more depth below.
The relevant document is entitled: 'Special educational needs and disability: an analysis and summary of data sources' and says it provides data analysis and links to statistical release data sources on children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or a disability.
The introduction states:
'This document provides a combination of analysis and links to the key data sources on children and young people with special educational needs and / or a disability (SEND). This is the eighth release in this format1 and follows on from the initial publication in November 2015.
The table below lists the topics included in this publication with a link to the source data and whether time series and local authority (LA) level data is available. Commentary on the data trends and more detailed analysis can be found by clicking on the link in the publication title column.
You may also wish to use this publication alongside benchmarking data tools, such as the Local Authority Interactive Tool (LAIT) and LG Inform. Further details are provided on page 24.
This is a collated product from data published throughout the year. As such, trends across sections might not be directly comparable. More detail can be found in the text.'
The contents section then adds that it covers:
Under: 'Prevalence and characteristics - Key trends', it states:
'The number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) increased to 1.37 million pupils in 2020. The proportion of pupils with SEN has been decreasing since 2010 (21.1%), however it has increased for the last 3 years.
The decline since 2010 in the percentage of children with SEN could be as a result of more accurate identification. This may have been as a consequence of the 2010 Ofsted Special Educational Needs and Disability review which found that a quarter of all children identified with SEN, and half of the children at School Action, did not have SEN. It is possible that the implementation of the SEND reforms in September 2014 has also led to more accurate identification which has led to the steep decline in the number with SEN in January 2015.
The proportion of pupils with a statement of SEN/ Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan increased to 3.3% in 2020, following increases in 2019 and 2018 and a long period of stability since 2007. Pupils with an EHC plan made up 21% of all pupils with SEN in January 2020.'
Under: "Type of need', it states:
'In January 2020, the most prevalent type of primary need identified among pupils with SEN was ‘Speech, language and communication needs’, with 21.9% of pupils having this recorded as their primary need.
For pupils with EHC plans, ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder’ was the most common primary type of need, with 30.1% of pupils with statements or EHC plans having this primary type of need.
For pupils on SEN support, ‘Speech, language and communication needs’ was the most common type of need; 23.7% of pupils on SEN support had this recorded as their primary type of need.'
Under: 'Types of school', it states:
'The percentage of pupils with a statement or EHC plan attending state-funded special schools increased year on year from January 2010 to January 2018 but has decreased since then. In January 2010, 38.2% of all pupils with statements attended state-funded special schools, and this has increased to 42.6% of all pupils with an EHC plan in January 2020.
The percentage of pupils with a statement or EHC plan attending independent schools has increased significantly in recent years. In January 2010, 4.2% of all pupils with statements attended independent schools, and this has increased to 6.4% of all pupils with an EHC plan in January 2020.
Under: 'Post-16 – attainment by age 19', it states:
'30.0% of pupils identified with SEN in year 11 achieved Level 2 (equivalent to 5+ A*-C/ 9-4 at GCSE) including English and mathematics (GCSEs only) by age 19 in 2019/20, which is 44.6 percentage points lower than pupils without SEN (74.6%).'
Under: 'Preparation for Adulthood/Post-16 learner participation', it states:
'Participation for 16 and 17 year olds
88.5% of 16-17 year olds with an EHC plan were in education and training in March 2020 compared with 93.2% of those without SEN. The percentage point gap in education and training participation of 16-17 year olds between those with an EHC plan and those without SEN has increased in recent years, from 3.3 percentage points in 2017 to 4.7 percentage points in 2020.
Participation in Further Education
In the 2019/20 academic year 17.5% of FE and skills participants aged 19 and over had a self- declared learning difficulty and/ or disability (LDD).'
Under: 'Progression to higher education', it states:
'In 2018/19, 8.9% of pupils with a statement or EHC plan progressed to HE by age 19, compared to 20.6% of pupils with SEN support and 47.3% for pupils with no SEN. The progression rate for pupils with a statement or EHC plan increased in the latest year, whilst the rates fell for pupils with SEN support and pupils with no identified SEN.'
Under:'Experience of the SEND system', it states:
'Total number of EHC plans maintained by local authorities
There were 430,697 children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans maintained by local authorities as at January 2021.
This is an increase of 40,588 (10%) from 390,109 as at January 2020. This is driven by increases across all age groups, with largest percentage increases in the 20-25 age group (17%).
The total number of children and young people with statements or EHC plans has increased each year since 2010.
Number of new EHC plans issued by local authorities
There were 60,097 children and young people with new EHC plans made during the 2020
calendar year. This is an increase of 11% when compared to 2019.'
Under: 'Timeliness of issuing statements and EHC plans', it states:
'In 2020, 58.0% of new EHC plans were issued within 20 weeks.
This shows a decrease from 2019, when 60.4% of new EHC plans were issued within the 20 week time limit. This figure excludes exceptional cases where the local authority need not comply with the 20 week time limit if it is impractical to do so.'
Under: 'Appeals registered with the SEND tribunal', it states:
'Parents/carers and young people can register an appeal with the SEND tribunal if, for example, there is a refusal to assess or they are unhappy about the contents of the plan. There were 7,385 appeals registered in 2019 (calendar year), which is equivalent to 1.8% of appealable decisions. This is an increase compared to the previous year when there were 6,023 appeals registered equivalent to 1.6% of appealable decisions.
Of the 7,917 registered SEND appeals in 2019/20 (academic year), 29% were against ‘refusal to secure an Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment’ or ‘refusal to re-assess’ and 60% were in relation to the content of EHC plans; these proportions are similar to 2018/19.
The most common type of need identified in SEND appeals continues to be Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), accounting for 47% (3,722) of all SEND appeals; this reflects the most common primary type of need for all pupils with an EHC plan.
The most common age for the child or young person for whom the appeal is registered is aged 5-16 (80%), followed by the post-16 age group (11%). The percentage in the post-16 age group increased between 2013/14 and 2015/16, following the extension of the right to appeal to this age group. This percentage has stayed broadly the same since 2015/16.'
LATEST NEWS ONLINE
And here are the news articles that I found of interest this week:
Pressure from MPs on rise in pupils sent home
Williamson wants to scrap bubbles to keep pupils in school
‘Children are not guinea pigs’: parents and teachers on plans to stop self-isolation in England
Recovery plan for pupils in England is ‘feeble’, former catch-up tsar says
Again, aside from clicking on the relevant links for more information, I would also remind you of the very useful resources and information provided on the following websites:
- Council for Disabled Children
- Special Needs Jungle
I would also highlight again the fact that you can now get a digital copy of the magazine: Autism Eye which is very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with Autism.
Keep safe until next week.
With best wishes
P.S. I understand that there are many educational items, news articles, or other useful resources on the web, so I would be very grateful if you could let me know of any that you find that you think that others may find useful, so that I can direct people to them.