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 replace the old statements of special needs. 

Key findings for Lancashire-12

  • The percentage of children with statements or EHC plans is 3.1% (England 3.1%) as of January 2019.
  • 5,729 young people aged 0-25 years have a statement/EHC plan, an increase of almost 250 young people since January 2018.
  • 10.0% have SEN support (England 11.9%), a slight increase from 9.8% in 2018.
  • 900 children and young people had a new EHC plan (Jan 18 - Dec 19), 812 were issued as of the SEN census collection date.*
  • 130 statements/EHC plans were discontinued.
  • No statements/EHC plans ceased as the young people had left compulsory education.
  • A tenth (10.0%) of pupils a statement/EHC plan and 29.8% of pupils with SEN support achieved GCSEs 9-4 (equivalent to A*-C), in English and mathematics (2016/17). 

* The census date for the SEN2 collection falls on the third Thursday in January each year. The census date for the SEN2 2018 collection was 18th January 2018.

Key figures by school type

Statements/EHC plans and SEN support vary by school type and the figures for January 2019 for Lancashire-12 compared to England (across primary, secondary and special schools) show:

  • For primary schools 1.1% of children have statements or EHC plans (England 1.6%), while 11.3% have SEN support (England 12.6%).
  • For secondary schools 1.1% have statements or EHC plans (England 1.7%), while 8.1% have SEN support (England 10.8%).
  • For special schools 99.6% have statements or EHC plans (England 98.3%), while 0.4% have SEN support (England 1.6%).
  • Across all school types, 13.2% of pupils have special educational needs. 

Source: Special educational needs in England, January 2019 and Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2016 to 2017 (Department for Education).

For further details please see the local authority data available in the data section below. 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.

Thematic JSNA for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Lancashire

In 2019 we completed a thematic JSNA for SEND in Lancashire. This was a multi-agency project led by Sally Richardson, Head of Inclusion Service, Lancashire County Council and focused on the 0-25 population. In November 2017, a joint local area SEND inspection conducted identified areas of significant weakness in the local area's practice. As part of the Lancashire SEND partnership written statement of action, a JSNA was identified as necessary to help support the understanding of need across Lancashire. Below are the priorities compiled by the JSNA project group:

  • Deprivation - delivering SEND services universally but proportionate to need in order to reduce inequalities
  • Exclusions - reducing the number and rate of permanent exclusions from school
  • Out of county placements - increasing the sufficiency and sustainability of school placements within Lancashire
  • Health needs - delivering cost-effective, community-based health services across Lancashire
  • Early identification/intervention - increasing awareness and detection of SEND and its risk factors
  • Data - improving the quality and usefulness of data and promoting data sharing between agencies
  • Joint working - developing joint working arrangements to improve outcomes
  • Transitions - improving the experience of children and young people and their families at key transition points

 For further analysis relating to the SEND JSNA please use our SEND dashboard.

Further data

Special educational needs in England 2019 (XLSX 468 KB)

Statements of SEN and EHC plans England 2019 (XLSX 486 KB)

GCSE results by SEN/EHC, 2016 to 2017 (XLSX 2 MB)

Speech, language and communication needs assessment report (PDF 555 KB)

Page updated August 2019