SEND Summit 2024: a rise in EHCPs and earlier provision

CYP Now’s annual SEND Summit tackled many of the challenges within the UK’s SEND system, even with an imminent election and the complications in open discussion that it comes with. We explore some of the biggest themes that appeared in discussion throughout the day.
SEND Summit 2024: a rise in EHCPs and earlier provision
Like

Share this post

Choose a social network to share with, or copy the shortened URL to share elsewhere

This is a representation of how your post may appear on social media. The actual post will vary between social networks

CYP Now’s annual SEND Summit tackled many of the challenges within the UK’s SEND system, even with an imminent election and the complications in open discussion that it comes with. There were many big reoccurring themes throughout the day, both featuring in the morning’s keynote talks by Annemarie Hassall, CEO of nasen, and the Council for Disabled Children’s director, Amanda Allard.

The rise in Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) was the first prominent theme, which Annemarie Hassall explained in her talkThe status of SEND’. As of January this year, there are over half a million children and young people with EHCPs, with the year 2023 seeing a new 84,000 plans secured for students. Annemarie Hassall noted that there was a particularly large increase in early years. 4.6% of children under 5 currently have an EHCP, an increase of roughly 25% since last year.

Annemarie Hassall doesn’t believe the increase is necessarily a bad thing, explaining that she would rather have more EHCPs than children without their needs being met. She added that needs aren’t being identified enough in early years.

We absolutely need to identify and spot these needs before children start school because, for the first time ever, we’re seeing higher numbers of children in reception with unidentified needs."

With this rise, it’s important that money is being put into the right places, which Council for Disabled Children’s director Amanda Allard believes isn’t happening. We have got more money than ever before being spent on children and young people with SEND. £9.4 billion in 2024, up from 5.3 billion,she said.So, when people sayis there enough money in the system?my take on that is there may well not be, but we are spending the money that we have in the system so poorly we don't know whether we’ve got enough or not.”

She added:

I wouldn't mind if we had happy children who were achieving their potential. But outcomes aren't shifting, and we have instances where parents aren’t happy. They still feel like they're fighting with the system."

Amanda Allard pointed out some of the changes she hopes to see in the coming years for the SEND and Education system. Inclusive schools, a funding review, more accountability and a shift in the OFSTED framework, and more of a focus on SEND in Initial Teacher Training and CPD. With the general election next week, and potentially a completely new government, perhaps these will be put in place.

Transitions

A highlight from the summit was a talk from Education advisor for the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA), Sharon Smith, who was joined by her 19-year-old daughter Tanzie who has Down’s syndrome. Together, they discussed their top tips for helping students transition into adulthood.

Their top 10 tips included:

  • Plan ahead
  • Be ambitious, take risks
  • Help me find my voice
  • Help me understand what things I will need to learn to become more independent
  • Help me learn how to make my own decisions and my own mistakes

The first tip,plan ahead’, linked to that theme seen throughout the summit – earlier provision. Sharon Smith recounted the planning her family and Tanzie’s school teachers have done throughout the years to help support her to enjoy things that other children do and to be independent.

It’s really important for us as a family to be ambitious, to have high aspirations for Tanzie and always assume that she can do what she wants,Sharon said.But we have to put the right support in place to achieve that.”

Sharon spoke about a range of times throughout Tanzie’s life when they pre-planned how something was going to work for her. From the residential trip in year 6, which Sharon had begun planning with the school a year before, to swimming lessons, to potential opportunities for Tanzie to live independently in the future. "But we need schools to take some of these risks and be ambitious too," Sharon added.

If you want to hear Sharon speak about this more, she was recently on the SEND Network Podcast. Find the episode here: Including children who have Down’s Syndrome with Sharon Smith

Please sign in or register for FREE

If you are a registered user on SEND Network, please sign in