Information on the characteristics of pupils with SEN are recorded in the school census and are available for state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units. Data is not available for independent schools or general hospital schools and these are not included in totals in this section.
SEN is most prevalent at age 10
The percentage of pupils who have SEN increases with age, reaching a peak of 19% of pupils at age 10. This then steadily declines to 15.8% at age 15.
SEN support decreases from age 10
The initial increasing trend is driven by SEN support, which increases in primary ages to 15.0% until age 10, before decreasing through secondary ages to 11.6% at age 15.
The percentage of EHC plans grows with age peaking at age 11
The percentage of pupils with an EHC plan increases with age until reaching 4.6% at 11, before decreasing to 4.2% at 15. The percentage of those with an EHC plan at age 15 is higher than last year which was 4.0%.
SEN is more prevalent in boys than girls
73.1% of pupils with an EHC plan are boys, unchanged from last year. 64.2% of pupils with SEN support are boys, however this has been decreasing slowly in recent years.
The percentage of all pupils eligible for free school meals has increased sharply since the introduction of transitional protections which will continue to be in place during the roll out of Universal Credit. This has meant that pupils eligible for free school meals on or after 1 April 2018 retain their free school meals eligibility even if their circumstances change. In January 2021, the percentage for all pupils was 20.8%, compared to 17.3% in 2020, 15.4% in 2019 and 13.6% in 2018
Pupils with SEN are more likely to be eligible for free school meals
38.0% of pupils with an EHC plan and 34.3% of pupils with SEN support are eligible for free school meals in 2021. This compares to 20.8% of all pupils in all schools.
Pupils with SEN have higher rates of first language being English than the general school population
83.9% of pupils who have SEN support and 84.2% of pupils with an EHC plan have a first language known to be or believed to be English. This compares to 80.3% of all pupils in all schools.
SEN is most prevalent in the Traveller of Irish heritage ethnic group
24.4% of pupils recorded as Traveller of Irish heritage ethnic group had SEN support in 2021, and a further 5.6% had an EHC plan. The lowest rate for SEN support is 5.4% for the Chinese ethnic group and for EHC plans is 2.3% among the Indian ethnic group. These groups are unchanged from 2020.