Why a Statement (or EHCP) is crucial

The DfE has released an updated report on the destinations of pupils leaving Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. The data can be found here.

These figures relate to the academic year 2013/2014. As such, they are an assessment of the outcomes for children and young people under the regime of School Action, School Action Plus and Statement of Special Educational Needs. It is the first set of data since young people are required to remain in education, training or employment until the age of 18. In theory then, the “sustained destination” for all pupils should be 100%.

We wrote about last years’ data release here. That article was headed ‘Prospects better with a Statement’. It seems that that is still true.

What does it say?

The data release reports on the destinations for all children and young people in Key Stage 4 and 5 at the end of academic year 2013/2014.

The report refers to “sustained destinations”. This is not fully defined, but seems to mean at least two full terms of attendance in employment, education or training.

The year being considered is the year group just before the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). EHCPs were introduced from September 2014 – i.e. the academic year 2014/2015.

The figures that stand out to us are set out below.

Pupils leaving Key Stage 4

  • 92% of all pupils had a sustained destination
  • 90% of pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs had a sustained destination
  • 85% of pupils with SEN, but without a Statement, had a sustained destination
  • 94% of pupils who attended a non-maintained special school had a sustained destination. This compares to 87% of pupils who attended a maintained special school.
  • Only 54% of pupils who attended a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) had a sustained destination.

Pupils leaving Key Stage 5

  • 79% of pupils without SEN had a sustained destination
  • 76% of pupils with SEN had a sustained destination – this drops to 66% for those with learning difficulties
  • 77% of pupils from a special school had sustained destination

What does this mean?

The data confirms what we have all known for a while; children and young people attending PRUs have the worst outcomes of all pupils. It is important to bear in mind these placements cater for the children and young people with the most challenging needs, tending to include significant behavioural and compliance difficulties. It would seem that additional support for these placements needs to be considered.

In our experience, the use of PRUs ranges significantly. Many local authorities use them as intended; as short-breaks to prepare young people for reintegration back into school. Other LAs use PRUs as long-term placements for young people who become viewed as ‘hard to place’.

The data again highlights that pupils with SEN have ‘better’ outcomes when they are supported with a Statement of SEN. The difference in outcomes is all the more dramatic when you consider that it is only the most ‘severe’ SEN that attract the support of a Statement of SEN.

This couples with the very interesting data that the prospects for a pupil with SEN, who attends a non-maintained special school, is more likely to have a sustained destination than a pupil without any SEN.

It is also worth considering that the number of children and young people recognised as having SEN has recently dropped dramatically. We wrote about that here. This data calls into question the prospects for those children and young people who ‘fell out’ of the SEN support system.

It will be interesting to see what the data says next year. The will be the first data-set following the introduction of EHCPs and after the significant drop in the number of pupils recognised as having SEN.

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