Special educational needs and disability (SEND)


A child or young person has a special educational need (SEN) if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which requires special education provision. This is defined as when a child or young person has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of their peers of the same age. It also includes disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for their peers of the same age in schools maintained by the county council.

As part of a range of SEND (special educational needs and disability) reforms, education, health and care (EHC) plans were introduced in September 2014. EHC plans aim to improve outcomes for children and young people by providing a more joined up approach across different agencies and encouraging parents/carers and young people to be fully involved in decisions around their own support requirements. These will replace the old statements of special needs. As part of this process the county council is on target to complete all transfers of young people from statements to EHC plans by the national deadline of April 2018, and is rated as 'good' on this indicator. 

Key findings for Lancashire-12 (year to Jan 16)

  • The percentage of children with statements or EHC plans is 2.9% (England 2.8%)
  • Just over 5,200 young people aged 0-25 years have a statement/EHC plan, a decrease from 3.1% in January 2015 (Eng 2.8%).
  • 9.1% have SEN support (Eng 11.6%), a decrease from 10.5% in 2015.
  • 410 children and young people had a new EHC plan, while 10 new statements were issued.
  • 275 statements/EHC plans were discontinued, primarily due to the end of compulsory education.
  • Educational achievement of those with SEND is better than the national and regional figures, rating the county council as 'outstanding' for this indicator.
  • The authority is also ranked as 'good' for the percentage of young people with a SEND not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Key figures by school type

Statements/EHC plans and SEN support vary by school type and the figures to January 2016 for Lancashire-12 compared to England (across primary, secondary and special schools) show:


Source: Special educational needs in England, January 2016

For further details and more in-depth analysis please see our SEND analysis September 2016 (PDF 1.3 MB), the local authority tables (XLSX 300 KB) and the SEN/EHC plans data (XLSX 315 KB). For a range of data and intelligence around disability, please see our disability pages.

Routine data are collected by local authorities on children with statements of special educational needs, but this does not reflect the spectrum of disability and is only a weak proxy measure for severity. There is ongoing work to define disability in the context of the child’s participation in usual activities, using questionnaires to families and children. If this approach were to be adopted nationally (for local implementation) then meaningful comparisons could start to be made.


In 2013, partners from across Lancashire worked together to produce a thematic JSNA for special educational needs and/or disabilities. This JSNA took an in-depth look at the population of children and young people with SEND in Lancashire-12, their outcomes, and the determinants of SEND. The themes identified from this piece of work are still applicable and the recommendations continue to be relevant.

Further analysis

Children and young people: Special educational needs and disability (SEND) 2016 (PDF 1.3 MB)

Page updated October 2016.