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Number of children on special educational needs support plans in England rises

The number of children and young people on support plans for special educational needs and disabilities in England has risen, figures suggest.

An additional 58,914 education, health and care (EHC) plans were in place in January this year compared to the same period a year before, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

But nearly half of EHC plans, which set out the provision of special educational needs and disabilities (Send) support a child or young person needs, are still not being issued within the 20-week time limit.

The number of children and young people with EHC plans has increased by 11.4% in a year to 575,963.

This increase is higher than the 9.3% rise between 2022 and 2023, and the average yearly increase of around 10% since 2014, the DfE said.

The figures also show there were 84,428 new EHC plans that started during the 2023 calendar year, which is up by 26.6% from 2022.

Only just over half (50.3%) of new EHC plans were issued within the 20-week time limit in 2023, up from 49.2% in 2022.

An EHC plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.