Children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
SEN2 Data – Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN (2012-2015)
Within a SEN context, a ‘Merton Resident Child’ is defined as being any child or young resident within Merton LA aged between 0 and 18yrs old with a statement of SEN administered by Merton. This category includes small numbers of both Merton Looked After Children (where the borough is corporate parent) and Looked After Children from other boroughs placed in Merton.
The number of Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN has increased significantly over the last four years. This cohort is growing at a faster rate than the estimated Merton Resident Population, with a 13 percentage point increase over the last four years. It is also growing at a faster rate than London, statistical neighbour and national comparators.
Table 3: Number of Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN against comparator data (2012-2015)
Source: SEN2 Data 2012-2015 & DfE - SFR14/2015
Statement of SEN by Primary Need
ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) and Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) are the most prevalent primary needs amongst Merton Resident Children with Statements of SEN. Growth has been most pronounced for ASD (31 percentage point increase over the last four years).
Figure 1: Number of Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by primary need (2012-2015)
There has also been growth in relation to the number of children with Statements linked to Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH), whereas less children are being Statemented in relation to Visual Impairment (VI) and Hearing Impairment (HI).
Table 4: Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by Primary Need (2012-2015)
Source: SEN2: January 2012 –2015
Age at First Final Statement Date
The majority of Merton Resident Children start their Statement of SEN between the ages of 3 and 6 (55% of cohort; 582 children as at January 2015).
Figure 2: Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by age of First Final Statement - January 2015
In terms of primary need, Final Statements are likely to be administered at an early stage for children with SLD (Severe Learning Difficulty), MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulty) and ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), often before primary phase. Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) are likely to be diagnosed and supported in the first few years of the primary phase (reception and Year 1), whereas Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs are likely to be evident later on in a child’s education (later years of primary phase).
Table 5: Modal age ranges for First Final Statement Date by Primary Need (January 2015)
Source: SEN2: January 2015
Primary Need by Academic Year Group (January 2015)
The majority of Statements of SEN remain in place throughout a child’s education pathway. As of January 2015, the highest proportion of statements related to transition (Years 6 to 7) and GCSE (Years 10 to 11) phases.
Figure 3: Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by Academic Year Group - January 2015
Primary needs such as ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) are equally prevalent across both primary and secondary phases. However, Severe Learning Difficulty (SLD) is more prevalent within the Primary Phase whereas Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) is proportionally higher within the Secondary Phase.
Statements of SEN by Gender
The majority of Merton Resident Children with Statements of SEN are male (78% of cohort as at January 2015), with 21 percentage point growth since January 2012. This contrasts with fewer females over the last four years having a Statement of SEN.
Table 6: Merton Resident Children with Statements of SEN by gender (2012-2015)
Source: SEN2 : January 2012 –2015
Primary Needs such as ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) are predominately linked to males.
Figure 4: Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by gender and primary need - January 2015
Statements of SEN by Type of Provision
The majority of Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN attend Mainstream Schools or State Funded Special Schools (77% of cohort; 794 children as at January 2015). A further 230 children attend either Independent Provisions (most are Independent Special Schools located out of borough) or Merton ARPs.
Over the last four years, whilst the proportion of Merton Resident Children with Statements of SEN attending different types of provision remains broadly the same, growth in terms of number of children has been highest amongst specialist provisions. Within Merton, this can partly be explained by further capacity expansion of State Funded Special Schools such as Cricket Green and Perseid, as well as Additionally Resourced Provisions such as Raynes Park (Secondary ARP). Growth within Independent provisions, predominately those located out of borough may be due to new specialist provisions which could influence parental choice.
Table 7: Merton Resident Children with a Statement of SEN by type of provision (2012-2015)
Key commissioning recommendations for children with disabilities and SEN
- One of the major causes of disabilities in children is low and very low birth weight. If nothing changes and the proportion of low and very low birth weight babies stays the same (7.1% of all births), there will be an absolute increase in numbers of these children. It would be expected there could be 250 children with future special needs born in Merton per annum (based on ONS live annual births figures for 2011).
- LBW will have implications for: paediatric and neonatal services, children’s centres, community health services, social care services; mainstream and specialist education; there will also be increased pressure on the continuing care/short breaks budget. If the trend of increasing demand in continuing care and palliative care continues community services for children with disabilities and complex health needs will need to be strengthened and increased.
- National policy changes in the Children and Families Bill 2013, effective from 2014, will have significant implications for SEN children and young people. The Bill includes creating a single system for children and young people identified with SEN from birth to age 25, duties for Children with Disabilities/SEN extended to age 25 and a requirement for integrated education, health and care plans.
- Detailed work based on current predictions of the range of provision likely to be needed in the future is under way. Keeping pupils close to home wherever possible is desirable in terms of both pupil outcomes and value for money.
- In light of the rising numbers of children diagnosed with ASD and increasing waiting times for assessment, there is a need for an autism pathway and consideration of the range of services available, linked to the autism strategy.
- Integrated approaches are needed to commissioning speech and language therapy, behaviour management and child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) services recognising the links between speech, language and communication disorder, conduct disorder, ASD, BESD and low achievement and exclusions.
1. ^ Baird, G., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D. and Charman, T. (2006). Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP).
Lancet, 2006 Jul 15; 368 (9531): 210-5; and Baron-Cohen, S., Scott, F.J., Allison, C., Williams, J., Bolton, P., Matthews, F.E. and Brayne, C. (2009). Prevalence of autism-spectrum conditions: UK school-based population study.
The British Journal of Psychiatry, 194 (6): 500-9.