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Education, Health and Care Plans - The latest statistics
The Department for Education has published its most recent statistical data regarding Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), for 2021. We've summarised below some of the key findings:
- The number of children and young people with EHCPs (captured in January 2022) increased by 10% to 473,255. This figure has increased each year since 2010 (including statistics for Statements of SEN).
- The number of initial requests for Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments (the first stage in the EHCP process) increased by 23% to 93,302. This huge increase could be explained by the previous data showing an 8% decline in the initial requests made. The decline was probably a consequence of lockdown schooling, and with applications that might have otherwise been made in 2020, being made last year instead. With the exception of the previous year's decline, this statistic shows an increase in the initial requests being made, each year since 2014. There was also a small increase in the number of applications refused, up to 22.3% totalling 20,800.
- The number of new EHCPs issued increased by 3% to 62,180, which is slightly higher from the previous year and again has increased each year since 2014. Almost half of these new EHCPs are for children aged 5 - 10.
- The percentage of EHCPs (excluding ones where exceptions applied) issued within the prescribed 20 weeks was only seen in 59.9% of cases. This is also slightly higher than the previous year and with the exception of 2020, this figure has continued to rise each year since 2014.
- There was an increase of personal budgets being included in EHCPs by 5.3% to 25,300
- over two thirds of EHCPs issued are for compulsory school aged children.
- The number of young people with EHCPs has increased each year since 2014 with 20.8% of EHCPs being for the age group 16 - 19 and 7.2% for the age group 20-25
- The number of EHCPs fir children under 5 has reduced to 3.8% which is consistent with last year’s statistics and the lowest it has been since 2015, when the total was 4.7%
- 1,500 children of compulsory school age children were not in some form of education and this figure is likely to be significantly higher as it will not include those who are not receiving education due to unlawful exclusions from school.
- The number of children and young people being electively home education increased by 12% to 4,100. This figure is unlikely to represent the true figure of elective home education, which is likely to be lower due to Local Authority's tendency to record a child as being 'electively home educated' in cases where it is clear home education is only being provided as a last resort, for example because of a Local Authority's failure to offer a suitable placement. In those cases it would be wrong to conclude the home education is ‘elective’.
- There was an increase in the number of mediations that took place to 5,100, with 26% continuing to a Tribunal appeal. This statistic is likely to be used to support the Department for Education’s proposal that engagement in mediation should be compulsory before being able to submit an appeal to the Tribunal, as it could suggest that nearly 75% of cases were successfully resolved by mediation. However, there are many reasons why someone may decide not to appeal to the Tribunal after mediation and a successful outcome is just one of those reasons.
So what do the updated statistics tell us?
We know there are serious issues with the SEND system in England, as outlined here. These statistics show an increase in the demand on Local Authorities to arrange provision for children and young people through an EHCP and therefore it is likely these serious issues are only going to get worse as the trend for the need for support continues. We are already seeing the impact of this in the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) who is struggling to hear appeals in their usual timescales.
What help is available?
If you are struggling to navigate the EHCP system, or if you need assistance with an appeal in relation to this, please get in touch with our specialist education law team who can assist.
Call us on: 0333 202 7175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org