Requests for education health and care plans soared again last year, new data reveals.
Department for Education data, published today, also shows how more children with EHCPs are staying in mainstream schools, rather than special schools.
The number of initial requests for EHCPs rose from 75,951 in 2020 to 93,302 in 2021 – the highest figures since records began in 2016.
It reached 82,329 in 2019 but dropped during the pandemic.
The number being refused has upticked slightly from 21.6 per cent in 2020 to 22.3 per cent, but this is still below 22.8 per cent in 2019.
The total number of plans was 473,255 in 2021, up 9.9 per cent from 430,697 in 2020. This has increased every year since 2010.
40.5 per cent of children with plans are now in mainstream education, up from 39.9 last year. The number in special schools has dropped again from 35.8 per cent to 34.8 per cent.
It follows a Schools Week investigation showing how special schools were setting up classrooms in staffrooms and therapy spaces to cope with a surge in pupils with additional needs.
The long-awaited SEND review which will try to incentivise mainstream schools to become “more inclusive”.
EHCPs have to be issued within 20 weeks. The rate of EHCPs completed in this timescale increased from 58 per cent in 2020, to 59.9 per cent this year. It is still below 60.4 per cent in 2019.
Parents can go to both mediation and the first-tier tribunal if they disagree with the local authority’s decision on the EHCP.
During 2021, there was an increase of nearly 1,000 cases of mediation – from 4,135 in 2020 to 5,097. The number continuing to tribunal has risen again from 1,104 to 1,302 last year.