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

  • The percentage of children with statements or EHC plans is 2.9% (England 2.8%).
  • Just under 5,200 young people aged 0-25 years have a statement/EHC plan, a small decrease from January 2016.
  • 9.4% have SEN support (Eng 11.6%), a slight increase from 9.1% in 2016.
  • 634 children and young people had a new EHC plan (Jan 16 - Jan 17), 270 were issued as of the SEN census collection date.*
  • 111 statements/EHC plans were discontinued.
  • 204 statements/EHC plans ceased as the young people had left compulsory education.
  • Almost a third (28.5%) of pupils with SEN support achieved five GCSEs A*-C, including English and mathematics.
  • Just over a tenth (12.6%) of pupils with SEN support and a statement/EHC plan achieved five GCSEs A*-C, including English and mathematics (2015/16).

* The census date for the SEN2 collection falls on the third Thursday in January each year. The census date for the SEN2 2017 collection was 19th January 2017.

Key figures by school type

Statements/EHC plans and SEN support vary by school type and the figures for January 2017 for Lancashire-12 compared to England (across primary, secondary and special schools) show:

  • For primary schools 0.9% of children have statements or EHC plans (England 1.3%), while 10.5% have SEN support (England 12.2%).
  • For secondary schools 1.3% have statements or EHC plans (England 1.7%), while 7.9% have SEN support (England 10.7%).
  • For special schools 99.5% have statements or EHC plans (England 96.7%), while 0.5% have SEN support (England 2.6%).
  • Across all school types, 12.3% of pupils have special educational needs. 

Source: Special educational needs in England, January 2017 and Revised GCSE and equivalent results in England: 2015 to 2016 (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.


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 data

Special educational needs in England 2017 (XLSX 422 KB)

Statements of SEN and EHC plans England 2017 (XLSX 326 KB)

GCSE results by SEN/EHC, 2015 to 2016 (XLSX 

Page updated November 2017