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The Impact of the EHCP Statistics 2022/2023
The latest annual statistics regarding Special Educational Needs and Education, Health and Care plans (“EHCPs”) have recently been released by the Government. It is no surprise that the total number of children and young people with EHCPs has continued to increase over the past year. The number of pupils receiving support from an EHCP has increased by 9% since 2022. This demonstrates a continued upsurge over the past few years. Similarly, the number of new EHCPs that were issued during the 2022 calendar year has increased by 7% from the previous year. The issuing of EHCPs has therefore continued to rise since their first introduction in 2014.
As expected, requests for EHCPs have also continued to grow each year. There were 114,500 initial requests for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment during 2022, an increase of 23% since 2021.
The number of children and young people with EHCPs has increased at all age bands, with the largest increase seen in children of compulsory school age. This is a constant and long-term trend. Moreover, 71.8% of children and young people with an EHCP are male, with 28.1% female, suggesting that SEN seems to be consistently identified more often in boys rather than girls.
These figures show us that more EHCPs are being issued each year. There is a consistent increase in the demand on Local Authorities to ensure that appropriate support for children and young people with SEN in England is implemented.
A more concerning statistic is that the number of EHCPs now issued within the 20 week statutory deadline has decreased. Within the 2022 calendar year, only 50.7% of EHCPs were issued within the 20 week time limit. This is a reduction from 59.9% in 2021. It is therefore clear that there are increasing delays in the process of obtaining an EHCP for a young person or child.
Mediation services are feeling the impact of these increasing statistics. There is an increasing demand for mediation and enquiries made to mediation companies have surged. This means Local Authorities will be experiencing a very high volume of enquiries for mediation. Mediation companies will also struggle to action cases as quickly as they used to. If parents are seeking mediation services, they will need to be arranged as soon as possible and well in in advance of a deadline to lodge an appeal to the First-Tier (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Tribunal against a Local Authority decision.
The impact of these statistics also weighs heavily on the First-Tier (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Tribunal. The SEND Tribunal is becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the amount of appeals being lodged. In the year of 2022, a total of 4,900 Tribunal cases were reported against Local Authority decisions. The increase in Tribunal appeals is a direct result of Local Authorities making inadequate decisions regarding the support that children and young people require. It is an increasing issue that the SEND Tribunal are unable to register appeals at the speed they used to and are struggling to hear appeals in their usual timescales. It has become apparent that the Tribunal are experiencing an unprecedented amount of appeals.
Due to the high demands of appeals, the Tribunal are making changes to the appeals process. Examples of these substantive changes can be found in our previous blog here: New SEND Tribunal Direction
A further impact of the increase in appeals is that parents and young people who are wishing to challenge a decision made by their Local Authority will need to be very proactive in taking the relevant action, in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
If you have concerns that you child may have special educational needs that are not being met, wish to discuss whether an EHCP might be the right option for your child, or would like assistance with an ongoing Tribunal appeal, please do not hesitate to call our Specialist Education Law Solicitors on 0333 202 7175 for advice and guidance, or send us an email on email@example.com.