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To ask the Secretary of State for Education
(1) what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with local authorities who have reported a decrease in the proportion of children identified as having a special educational need or disability between January 2010 and January 2012 of 10 per cent or more; and what explanations he has received for such decreases;
(2) what estimate he has made of the average change in the proportion of children identified as having a special educational need or disability in England between January 2010 and January 2012.
It is for schools and local authorities to identify children with special educational needs (SEN). Neither the Secretary of State for Education, Education Ministers nor departmental officials have had formal discussions with local authorities about reductions in the number of children being identified with SEN. Informal discussions about the identification of SEN and disability have arisen with officials when exploring other policy issues.
The Department publishes statistical data on SEN each year:
The statistics show that the percentage of pupils in England identified as having SEN fell from 21.1% in January 2010 to 19.8% in January 2012, a fall of 1.3 percentage points. At local authority level, percentage point changes ranged from +1.1 to -5.7, with all but 18 authorities showing percentage point decreases.
Schools and local authorities are not required to collect data on disabled children.