Nottinghamshire is a large rural local community, made up of 7 Districts, covering over 800 square miles. Nottingham City is separate to the County, managing its own affairs and is surrounded by 4 of the Nottinghamshire Districts.
There are 236,227 children and young people aged 0 – 25 living in Nottinghamshire, and in January 2016 there were 119,192 of statutory school age (4 – 19) on roll in Nottinghamshire schools and academies. Of these, 1.3% of school aged children and young people have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or Statement of Special Educational Needs. This is very low in comparison to Nottinghamshire’s statistical neighbours which have an average of 2.5% and lower still when compared with the national average at 2.8%.
Of the 1.3% population, 42% attend a mainstream school/academy, which is significantly higher than the national average; 58% attend a special school or academy, meaning that only 0.75% of all children and young people in Nottinghamshire currently attend a special school/special academy. Over the next 5 years this is projected to increase to at least 0.87% (up by 240 pupils), meaning that the number of places required in special schools will increase and the support required to meet the needs of children and young people in mainstream settings is likely to increase, as is the demand on assessment services.
A child has special educational needs (SEN) if they have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn compared to most other children of about the same age.
Many children will have special educational needs of some kind during their education. Schools and other organisations can help the majority of children to overcome the barriers their difficulties present. A few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.
So special educational needs could mean that a child has:
- learning difficulties – in acquiring basic skills in school
- emotional and behavioural difficulties – making friends or relating to adults or behaving properly in school
- specific learning difficulty – with reading, writing, number work or understanding information
- sensory or physical needs – such as hearing or visual impairment, which might affect them in school
- communication problems – in expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
- medical or health conditions – which may slow down a child’s progress and/or involves treatment that affects his or her education.
Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Teachers take account of this in the way they organise their lessons and teach. Children making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed.