Published 13 November 2023
This paper explores how area deprivation-level is related to primary school children’s chances of: a) being allocated statutory support for special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND) through an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP), and b) being diagnosed with specific SEND conditions. Findings indicate both lower chances of statutory EHCP support and lower chances of diagnoses with certain conditions in areas that are more deprived. Firstly, children who are eligible for Free
School Meals (FSM) are less likely to be in receipt of an EHCP in more deprived areas. Secondly, among all children with any SEND recorded, greater area deprivation is related to lower chances of being provided with an EHCP – whether a child is FSM-eligible or not. Thirdly, children living in more deprived areas are more likely to be recorded in the National Pupil Database (NPD) with less well-defined, more commonly documented SEND conditions – ‘Speech, Language and Communication Needs’; ‘Moderate Learning Difficulties’; and ‘Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties’. Children in more affluent areas have higher chances than
those in poorer areas of being diagnosed with less prevalent, more precisely defined conditions: ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder’; ‘Specific Learning Difficulties’; ‘Physical Disabilities’; ‘Severe Learning Difficulties’; ‘Hearing / Visual / Multisensory Impairments’; ‘Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties’ – as recorded in the NPD. Findings overall indicate that there is unmet need for support and provision among children living in more deprived areas, and suggest that additional resourcing and
funding is needed.