1 Essex Needs Assessment for School, Children and Families Impact of having a child with special needs Children with special needs It has been estimated that the annual costs of bringing up a disabled child are three times greater than those for a child who is not disabled. Around 55% of families of disabled children have a low income: mothers of disabled children are less likely to have paid employment than other mothers and fathers employment and earnings are reduced. Families of disabled children commonly experience exclusion from ordinary child and family activities, as well as some mainstream and community services, including education, healthcare, leisure activities, transport and housing. Families with disabled children often face high levels of day-to-day stress, and many have high levels of unmet need for support services, which can lead to higher levels of stress and ill health than those experienced by other parents. In particular, families of children with learning disabilities show greater levels of unmet need than those with children who are not disabled. Lowering stress levels in families is important for the well-being of the whole family, and is also likely to reduce the number of children who require residential placements or who are looked after. Many children and young people with complex health needs or life-limiting illnesses need psychological and emotional support to minimise stress. In addition, these children and young people are significantly more vulnerable to mental health problems than other children: 30-50% of young people with a learning disability also have a mental health problem. Disabled children, particularly those with autistic spectrum disorder or learning disabilities, have often found it difficult to access child and adolescent mental health services. There are a number of medical conditions associated with physical disability which can impact on mobility. Children with physical disabilities may also have sensory impairments, neurological problems or learning difficulties. Some pupils are mobile but have significant fine motor difficulties which require support. Others may need augmentative or alternative communication aids. Disability and significant developmental delay may be detected immediately at birth for some children, while for others impairments will develop or become apparent only gradually. An increasing proportion of children will have complex and multiple disabilities, requiring coordinated. Deafness in young children interrupts the developmental process for acquiring language and affects cognitive development, social development and later educational progress including literacy. Early identification of deafness, combined with effective early intervention, is key to the language, communication and speech abilities of deaf children developing in line with that
2 of hearing children. Up to 40% of deaf children have an additional disability or learning difficulty. Children with blindness and visual impairments may experience developmental delays and gaps in conceptual development. Children with visual impairments learn differently, as they cannot rely on their vision to provide information. Consequently the child s physical development often lags behind that of their sighted peers and they may have problems in interpreting facial cues, body language and in making friends. Prevalence of children with special needs There is a rising population of children with disabilities nationally, with two main elements: a growing number of children with profound learning disabilities and/or multiple complex health needs; and a growing number of children with autistic spectrum disorders some of whom have very challenging behaviour. It is difficult to establish the exact number of children with special needs who are known to children s services since the information is held in separate Health, Social Care and Schools databases that are not linked up. SENCAN estimates 1 that there are around 4,000 children with severe disabilities aged 0-19 in Essex, but only 1,200 receive a service from social care. Children with disabilities in Essex, 2011 Estimated number of children with severe and complex disabilities Number of children with disabilities known to social care Mid quadrant 1, NE quadrant South quadrant 1, West quadrant Sensory team (countywide) Total Essex 3,995 1,226 There are just under 6,000 pupils in Essex who have a Statement of Educational Needs 2, accounting for 3.2% of the total pupils population. The proportion has gradually risen from 2.7% in 2008, in contrast to the proportion in England which has remained static over the last four 1 This is based on 1.2% of the total child population in 2010, the percentage recommended nationally by Together for Disabled Children to estimate the number of disabled children and young people. 2 Essex School Census, January 2012.
3 years. Just under 600 pupils with a Statement have a physical or sensory impairment, around 850 have behavioural and emotional support needs (BESD) and around 750 have speech and language communication needs. Around 900 have autistic spectrum disorders and just under 2,800 have learning disabilities. Number of children with Statements of Education Needs in Essex, 2012 Number of children with physical/ sensory disabilities Number of children with learning disabilities (excluding autism) Number of children with autistic spectrum disorders Number of children with BESD Mid quadrant NE quadrant South quadrant West quadrant Total Essex 570 2, In addition to the 5,915 pupils with Statements, there are 11,467 pupils on School Action Plus (accounting for 6.1% of all pupils) and 16,412 pupils on School Action (8.8% of all pupils). When analysing the number of pupils with special needs (with Statements, on School Action Plus and on School Action) compared to the total pupil population 3, Brentwood, Rochford and Uttlesford have a higher proportion of pupils with a Statement than the Essex average, while Tendring, Braintree, Chelmsford, Maldon and Basildon have a lower proportion than the county average. Overall, Tendring, Basildon and Maldon have a lower than average proportion of all pupils with special needs while Brentwood, Rochford and Uttlesford have higher proportions. 3 Essex School Census, January 2012.
4 Colchester Tendring Above and below average of Statements, SA+ and SA (1 = Essex average) Braintree Chelmsford Maldon Basildon Brentwood Castle Point Rochford Epping Forest Harlow Uttlesford Statements SA+ SA Mid: the quadrant has a lower proportion of pupils with Statements than the Essex average. Braintree and Chelmsford both have a higher than average proportion of pupils on School Action Plus and School Action, but Maldon has a lower proportion. NE: Tendring has a lower than average proportion of pupils on Statements, School Action Plus and School Action while Colchester has a higher than average proportion of pupils on School Action but a lower proportion on School Action Plus. South: Brentwood and Rochford have higher proportions than average of pupils on Statements, School Action Plus and School Action while Basildon has a lower than average proportion of these pupils. Castle Point is fairly close to the average. West: Uttlesford has a higher proportion than average of pupils on Statements, School Action Plus and School Action. Harlow has a lower than average proportion of pupils on School Action Plus and School Action. Epping is above average for pupils with Statements and on School Action Plus but below average for pupils on School Action. There are difficulties with obtaining data on the number of pre-school children with special needs because needs are emerging and evolving during what are the child s formative years. For example, some pre-school children may present as severe but in a relatively short period of time their needs may improve or even resolve (due to intensive input having an
5 impact on a transient need, eg particular types of speech and language difficulties). A category of need is also difficult to confirm for many pre-school children, particularly at the point of notification (from Health to SENCAN via the 332 forms). For example, a child notified as having speech and language difficulties may in due course be attributed a diagnosis of social communication difficulties, and then perhaps autism, which would therefore understate the number of children whose needs fall within the autism spectrum. It is likely that the SENCAN Statutory Assessment Service would only update the child s category of need on the database on completion of the child s Statement of SEN (ie the first formal assessment of the child s SEN). The SENCAN pre-school teams have just under 1,000 children under 5 notified on their database via 332 forms, as at February Number of pre-school children with SEN Mid team 197 NE team 336 South team 295 West team * 140 Total Essex 968 [* NB: The West quadrant currently has a very reduced number of paediatricians, and therefore the SENCAN West team is not receiving the referrals that would normally be issued.] Forecast prevalence of children with special needs The number of children with disabilities 4 is projected to increase by 2.5% overall over the next five years, although the number aged nine or under will increase significantly while the number aged 10 or over will fall. Age Range Projected number of children with disabilities Increase years 1,242 1,266 1,282 1,291 1,290 1, % 5-9 years 1,176 1,189 1,212 1,248 1,289 1, % years 1,259 1,253 1,240 1,222 1,210 1, % years 1,274 1,267 1,254 1,253 1,255 1, % All ages (0-19) 4,951 4,975 4,987 5,014 5,044 5, % 4 Using the estimate of 1.2% of the population aged 0-19, the percentage recommended nationally by Together for Disabled Children to estimate the number of disabled children and young people. ONS population statistics, 2008 mid-year estimate.
6 1,350 Children with Disabilities in Essex by age group , years 0-4 years 1,250 1, years years 1,150 1, assuming CWD remains at 1.2% of population. Source: ONS, 2008-based population projections Views of children with special needs Pupils with special needs in mainstream schools 5 generally have much more negative views about a range of issues than do all pupils. They are more likely to be afraid to go to school because of bullying and to say that their school deals badly with bullying, and are twice as likely to say they have been a victim of crime. They have low average scores for overall wellbeing and are up to 12 percentage points more likely to have poor emotional wellbeing. They are less likely to say that they enjoy school and are more likely to say they want more help from teachers. They are less likely to say they want to go to university. Pupils in special schools tend to have more positive views than those with special needs in mainstream schools, but are more negative about a range of issues than all pupils in mainstream schools. They are more likely to be afraid to go to school because of bullying. They have lower overall wellbeing than mainstream pupils in primary schools, although wellbeing for secondary pupils is similar to that of all pupils in mainstream schools (but significantly better than mainstream pupils with special needs). They are less likely to say they enjoy school than mainstream pupils, although the proportion saying they try their best at school is similar to that of pupils in mainstream schools. They are significantly less likely to want to go to university than mainstream pupils and are more likely to say they do not know what they want to do when they leave school. Positive areas are that they are less likely to smoke regularly, drink regularly, to have been drunk in the last month or to have ever taken drugs than pupils in mainstream schools. 5 Emotional Wellbeing of Children and Young People in Essex Special Schools Report (2012). Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU) for Essex Children s Trust report.
7 Views of parents/carers of children with disabilities The three most important things for parents of children with special needs in Essex 6 seeking advice about their child s education are: the quality of information given; feeling they are being listened to and understood; and having someone independent to talk to that will put them and their child first. Good and regular communication between parents and schools is important to build an equal partnership between them. Parents want all schools to be approachable, open and responsive, with a key person to contact. They want to be known, respected, responded and listened to as an individual. Parents are generally involved with a range of organisations/professionals, most of which are rated as helpful. Most feel that they are treated with respect, are listened to and feel involved. Over half feel that people working with them understand their child s/family s needs, and that services working with them or their children are responsive to their needs. However, fewer than half feel that there is enough information available about where to go for support, that it is easy to access support or that services working with them talk to each other and co-ordinate support. Almost half of parents highlight the good support they have received for their child 7, the difference it has made to them/their child/their family or how vital it is for them. However, around one in ten parents highlight the poor support that they/their child receive or the fact that they/their child do not receive any support. In addition, around one in ten parents say that they have had to fight for the support they/their child receives, or that they are still fighting for it. The main issues for parents who are receiving support are: the lack of information about sources of support and advice, and difficulties in identifying where to go for help; having to pay for private assessments/tuition as support is not available within the system; opposition or unhelpfulness from teachers, the school or local authority; and the lack of continuity between school stages. A significant number of parents highlight the difficulty in obtaining support for children with dyslexia. Support for autistic children and obtaining respite care also seems to be difficult to get. In general, parents of children with Statements are more positive in their views than parents of children in special schools, parents of children with multiple difficulties and parents of children with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Parents of children on School Action+/School Action are mixed in their views, with parents of primary age children being more positive than parents of secondary age children. Parents of children with autism also have mixed views. The majority of parents are positive about the services provided by Education Psychologists and the ECC specialist teacher team. Feedback on the statutory assessment process shows that many parents are pleased with the help, support and advice they receive but areas of criticism 6 Summary of feedback from parents of children with special needs in Essex (2012). ECC Research & Analysis Unit. 7 Consultation with 587 parents/carers who have a child whose needs are supported at school action, school action plus or who receive support through a Statement of SEN see SEN/AEN Consultation Winter 2011/12 Report on Survey of Parents/Carers (2012). ECC.
8 are the length of time that it takes to go through the process, the stress caused by the process (having to fight for everything for so long) and that some parents would have wanted mainstream school but found that the mainstream school put up so many objections/obstacles that they ending up opting for a special school. The needs of some young people with autism are not being met within school settings and in some instances this has led to poor parental confidence. Their experiences of further education based in mainstream education provision are mixed. The lack of commonality in age for transition frustrates parents who report that for some young people this leads to a lack of appropriate health interventions between the ages of On the whole transitions between child and adult services are poorly co-ordinated and can be problematic for families, with the main problem relating to funding and accessing budgets. Transitions for children with special needs Transition refers to the services and opportunities offered to young people with disabilities aged as they grow up and move from childhood to adulthood. It involves a range of services, including children s social care, special educational needs services, adult social care, schools and health. Around the age of 18 and 19 years most of these young people who have continuing support needs have to move from children s services into adult services. National research shows that young people with statements of SEN are considerably more likely to move into positive outcomes than those on School Action Plus and more likely to do so than those on School Action. Young people with largely uncontested impairments (eg sensory and/or physical disabilities) tend to have clear transition pathways, although many experience deferred transitions in post-16 education. The issues for them are whether the pathways they are on are appropriate, whether they promote genuine progression and whether the high level of service co-ordination these young people need (and that they have experienced pre-16) actually survives the transition phase. Post school support for young people with learning disabilities focuses on those who had statements and have the most complex needs. The formal process of transition planning is unlikely to continue once a young person has left school. A national survey showed that only 53% of young people with autism who had Statements were issued with transition plans during their education, falling to just one third of students in mainstream schools. Only one quarter of parents felt that the support offered during their child s transition planning is co-ordinated. Young people with less well-defined or evident needs (eg less severe learning difficulties, and behavioural, emotional or social development needs) form part of a broader population of educational low-achievers. They are less likely to have had statements of SEN or well-defined transition pathways, and the level of statutory support they receive appears to be low. Many have left education and have entered, or are seeking to enter, the bottom end of the labour market.
9 Nationally, the highest qualification of 48% of disabled young people aged 18 and 19 is at the equivalent of NVQ Level 1 or below (including those with no qualifications) compared with 28% of their non-disabled peers. Young people with a disability want and need the same things as people without disabilities at this time, but often need additional support in achieving their goals. There are 500 young people with special needs in Essex aged 16 to 25 who are known to the Transition Team and are in the process of being transferred to Adult Services. Over half are aged 18 or 19, with a quarter aged 17 or under and the rest aged 20 or over. 40% have learning disabilities, 19% have Autistic Spectrum disorder and 14% have physical or sensory impairments. Number of young people in Essex known to Transitions Team, January 2013 Number Basildon 46 Braintree 55 Brentwood 23 Castle Point 33 Chelmsford 48 Colchester 78 Epping Forest 39 Harlow 50 Maldon 20 Rochford 13 Tendring 57 Uttlesford 31 Other/out of county 7 Mid 123 NE 135 South 115 West 120 Essex 500 Report produced by Research & Analysis Unit Essex County Council, February 2013