Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of children reported to be experiencing domestic abuse have an Education, Health and Care plan in the most recent period for which figures are available; and how many of those children are attending school during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

252,580 children were recorded as having domestic abuse as a factor at the end of their referral assessment[1] in the year ending 31 March 2019. This includes children where the assessment has raised concerns about the child, concerns about the parent(s) or concerns about other adults in the household. We do not publish figures showing where there are solely concerns about the child being the victim of domestic abuse. 46.0% of children in need on 31 March 2019 have special educational needs (SEN), including 21.6% with an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Figures for the number of children with domestic abuse as an assessment factor and an EHC plan are not available.

For school attendance, 69,000 of the children and young people in attendance on Thursday 7 May were classed by schools as vulnerable. Of these, around 20,800 of the children and young people in attendance on Thursday 7 May were children and young people with SEN who have an EHC plan. Figures for the number of children with domestic abuse as an assessment factor are not available in the school attendance data collection.

Please note that the department has set an expectation that children with a social worker, including those where domestic abuse is a factor, are to attend. This is the expectation unless their social worker decides that they are at less risk at home or in their placement, for example, due to underlying health conditions. In the event of non-attendance, providers should follow up with the parent or carer – and social worker or local authority, where appropriate – to explore reasons for absence. Where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school or college or discontinues, the provider should notify their social worker. Where appropriate, they should keep in contact with the family.

[1] When a child is referred to children’s social care, an assessment is carried out to identify if the child is in need of services, which local authorities have an obligation to provide under section 17 of the Children Act 1989. These services can include, for example, family support (to help keep together families experiencing difficulties), leaving care support (to help young people who have left local authority care), adoption support or disabled children’s services (including social care, education and health provision).

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