Published: September 2023
- In Wakefield a total of 10,610 school age pupils have been identified as formally requiring extra help at school due to having special educational needs (SEN), 18.2% of the total pupil population.
- 7,895 pupils receive SEN Support (extra support usually within mainstream school) and 2,715 have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP, a formal plan of help for those with more complex needs) (2022/23). This is 18.2% of the pupil population.
- There is a trend of increasing numbers of children identified with special educational needs over the last five years in Wakefield as well as nationally.
- Most school age children in Wakefield with special educational needs attend mainstream schools or nursery (91.8%).
- The most common primary reason for receiving SEN Support in Wakefield was speech, language and communication need (23.5%). Of those children who have an EHCP autism was the most common primary need (33.5%).
- Some children with SEN have a secondary need which also requires support. When exploring secondary need in Wakefield 13% of children with SEN support had a secondary need and 49% of those with an EHCP
- Levels and types of special educational need can vary by year group, gender, ethnicity, free school meal status and for children requiring social care help.
- Children identified with special educational needs in Wakefield have lower academic outcomes and higher rates of exclusions and absence than pupils not identified as having special needs and a similar pattern is seen nationally.
- The Wakefield School Health Survey found that children who have SEN were more likely to be bullied and were less likely to feel happy with life at the moment than other pupils.
- Children with special educational needs may also have additional health needs which are supported by specialist schemes such as the Learning Disability Health Check and health services including Children’s Therapy Services, Community Health Services and the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
- Wakefield has a number of services to support children with special educational needs and their families many of which are listed on the Local Offer for Wakefield, these include tailored support for families and schools, short breaks and advice and schemes to help with the transition to adulthood.
- In September 2023 a more in depth report of special educational needs in Wakefield District was created and is available as a pdf document in the link at the bottom of this page.
NOTE: This page has been recently updated in September 2023 and some of the information available has changed, if you can’t find any information you need or would like to give feedback please contact the public health intelligence team, email: email@example.com
Children and young people aged 0 – 25 have special educational needs (SEN) if they have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children and young people of the same age. Children can be identified as having special educational needs (SEN) requiring additional support in school for a wide number of reasons. Support needs to be tailored to each individual child. This may range from physical adjustments in the classroom, specialist equipment or having a dedicated teaching assistant in a mainstream school to requiring the attendance of a special school or other alternative provision. The Children and Families Act (2014) places a duty on Local Authorities to identify all children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and disabilities in their area. The Act introduced reforms to the SEN system, detailed in the SEND Code of Practice (2015).
Early accurate identification for children and young people with SEND will enable joint partners from education, health and social care to ensure appropriate provision to meet their needs and improve outcomes for this group.
There are two levels of intervention for children and young people with SEND who are considered to have additional needs. These are:
- SEN Support which consists of help given in addition to that provided by an educational settings usual curriculum and is deliverable with their delegated funding already available.
- Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is for children and young people who need a greater level of help to make progress and may need to attend a special school. It is a single multi-agency plan that is put in place following a formal assessment. It is a statutory legal document for children and young people aged 0 – 25 who are in education, apprenticeship or training.
In the Code of Practice Children’s SEN are generally thought of in the following broad areas of need:
- Communication and interaction includes speech, language and communication need (SLCN) and Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)
- Cognition and learning – Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including:
- Moderate Learning difficulty (MLD)
- Severe Learning difficulty (SLD)
- Profound and Multiple Learning difficulty (PMLD)
- Specific Learning difficulty (SpLD)
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
- Sensory and/or physical needs includes vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI), multi-sensory impairment (MSI) and physical disability (PD).
As well as requiring additional help and support in education children with special educational needs may also have additional health and social care needs and some will need additional support in other areas such as transition to adulthood.
This page gives an overview of special educational needs in Wakefield and compares this to the regional and national picture. It will also summarise some of the help and support provided in Wakefield to those with special educational needs and their families.
How does Wakefield district compare…
Numbers and Trends over time
What are the differences within Wakefield district?
Likelihood of being identified as SEN
Children identified with SEN vs other pupils
Health, social care, emerging need and transition to adulthood
Help and support in Wakefield
Across Wakefield District there are a number of sources of information and guidance alongside extra support for families of children identified as having a special educational need including the following:
Wakefield Local Offer
Wakefield Local Offer is a directory of services available for children with special educational needs and their families across the District. A website provides all this information in sections relating to education, services and things to do alongside a newsletter released three times a year and links to other resources. It has information about different conditions, support groups, services and advice and is aimed at children, young people, parents, carers and professionals.
WESAIL and SENDIASS
Wakefield Early Support, Advice, Information and Liaison (WESAIL) service provides Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS) to children and young people aged 0-25 years and their parents and carers and is currently provided by Family Action via funding from Wakefield Council and Wakefield Integrated Care Board (ICB). Their work includes providing free advice, support and signposting via phone, text or email, this includes information on how to apply for an EHCP and advice on issues such as reasonable adjustment and annual reviews, as well as for keeping the local offer up to date and developing and reviewing what is provided. The team is made up of six people: a service manager, an administrator, a senior SENDIASS officer and three part time officers. In 2020-21 WESAIL answered 923 duty calls, 303 from professionals and 620 from parents according to their annual report.
Wakefield Inclusion and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities Support (WISENDSS) are committed to offering support and training at an individual or whole school level in the areas of Autism (ASD), Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN), Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) and Learning Support.
Wakefield Parent Carer Forum
Wakefield parent carer forum is an independent parent carer forum led by a group of local parents who listen to and represent the views of local parents, young people and children with special educational needs and/or disability aged 0-25 years old in the Wakefield area. Their aim is to work in partnership with service commissioners providers through participation and co-production to make a positive difference, this includes regular meetings between the forum and Service leads at the Council. It also includes running local events for parents and children including an annual conference ‘Let’s talk about SEND’, SEND soft play and Coffee and Chat sessions.
Wakefield offers a variety of short break schemes support, an overview can be found on the short breaks local offer page, short breaks includes:
• Accessible fun activities in the community
• Support to access fun activities in the community
• Day time or overnight care in the home or elsewhere
• Services to help carers in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.
Care can be accessed through a number of providers. In 2022/23 394 children accessed short breaks, the same number as 2021/22.
The Alternative Provision Team oversee a multi-agency system of Inclusion Panels as part of the Wakefield Families Together model, to evaluate and provide Alternative Provision and other support to children and young people at risk of permanent exclusion. Some of these may have SEND. SEND professionals attend Inclusion Panel meetings along with other professional partners, and assess need for this on a case by case basis. Whilst this route is not deemed ideal for children and young people with EHCPs (unless there are exceptional circumstances), those on SEND support and at risk of permanent exclusion are considered for short-term step-outs at Alternative Provisions in our district. A separate pathway is in place for those with an EHCP who are at risk of permanent exclusion. The Inclusion panel resources and the Inclusion, Alternative Provision and Inclusion Panels web pages on the Wakefield Traded Services website give more information on the services available.
Across the Council
Wakefield Families Together
More widely across the Council families can be offered additional support through the Wakefield Families Together model providing local help to families across the District within their own community through family and youth hubs. As part of the support available to families the Team Around service which includes ‘Team around the Early Years’ and ‘Team around the school’ provide support with concerns on behaviour, school attendance, or emotional health and wellbeing to provide a bespoke support package for each family who needs it. Between February 2022 and April 2023 2,228 children and their families have been offered support, 549 who have SEN support (25%) and 183 (8%) who have an EHCP.
Happy, Healthy Holiday Scheme
The Happy, Healthy holiday scheme provides holiday clubs through grant funding from the government, in 2022 16.2% of the children who took part were identified as having SEND.
50 Things To Do Before You’re Five Wakefield
A free app developed to help 0-5 years olds become school ready 50 Things To Do Before You’re Five Wakefield offers ideas for activities for young children to helps to offer a range of experiences that are important for early child development. It also includes additional suggestions to make activities accessible for children with special educational needs with additional suggestions under an extra tab.
Wakefield Museums, Castles and Libraries
Wakefield Museums and Castles include Pontefract and Sandal Castles and Castleford, Pontefract and Wakefield museum. As well as welcoming children with SEN at their regular educational sessions such as craft activities, writing workshops and exploration of the exhibits they also provide additional SEND sessions with a more relaxed atmosphere. Wakefield Libraries operates nine libraries across the Wakefield District have several facilities to improve accessibility including books on a range of topics, large print and audiobook collections and autism friendly guides to libraries services (e.g. Normanton ) amongst other tools. All libraries offer free Storytimes some including Makaton rhymes, Tovertafels (overhead projector games which are interactive and encourage interaction for all abilities) are available in eight of our libraries and are popular with all families and ages. The library service is also part of the BookStart campaign offering a book pack to babies aged 8 to 12 months through their health visitor or available in the library directly. In 2023/23 3,849 children received a baby book pack (97.9% of all children born in Wakefield District). There are also special packs for children with additional needs, in 2022/23 in Wakefield District 227 packs were gifted specifically aimed at children with different additional needs.
JSNA full report
In September 2023 a more in depth report was created to complement the website and is available here as a PDF report:
Wakefield Special educational needs JSNA report
UK Government, Department for Education. Special educational needs in England, Academic year 2022/23
UK Government, Department for Education. Education, health and care plans, Reporting Year 2023
Welcome to Wakefield SEND Local Offer
Shaw B, Bernardes E, Trethewey A, Menzies L (2016) Special educational needs and their links to poverty, JRF Report, Link: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/special-educational-needs-and-their-links-poverty
Strand S & Lindorff A. (2018) Ethnic disproportionality in the identification of Special Educational Needs (SEN) in England: Extent, causes and consequences. Link: https://www.education.ox.ac.uk/research/the-unequal-representation-of-ethnic-minorities-in-special-education-in-england-extent-causes-and-consequences/