Special educational needs and disability (SEND)

JSNA > Starting Well

Being described as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) means that a child or young person finds it harder to learn than most children and young people of the same age.  Some young people with SEN may also have a disability that they require support with.  Young People with SEND can be supported until the age of 25 at which point they are considered adult.

Children and Young People with SEND whose needs are identified and met at the right time can make their own progress in school and do benefit from being a part of their community making good friendships both of which help them prepare for their adulthood.  When need aren’t identified and/or are not met children and young people with SEND can struggle and we see this in lower attendance, more school moves, higher exclusion and worse outcomes.

Key Messages

  • 19.7% of school aged young people have a recognised SEND, that’s around 15,000 learners this is higher than the rest of England (18.4%). This is increasing, with 32% more young people identified as having SEND than 5 years ago far more than regional or national comparisons which rose by 23.6% and 23.1%. (2023/24).
  • SEND in school is defined in 2 categories those needs which can be met through a SEND Support Plan and those with he most complex needs who have an EHCP. 15.4% of pupils receive SEN Support. This is higher to England (13.6%).  4.3% of pupils have an EHCP. This is similar to England (4.8%). That’s around 3,270 pupils locally with an EHCP, and this number has been increasing over time (2023/24).
  • SEN2: There were around 4,501 HCP/Statements in County Durham (2024). This has risen by 6.6% in the last year and 38.9% in the last 5 years. England has increased by 11.4% in the last year, and 62.7% in last 5 years). North East has increased by 9.6% in the last year, and 51.8% in last 5 years).

Powerbi Report SEN: Click the report tabs to explore more data around SEN in County Durham. Click on the expand button in the bottom right of the box to open in full screen mode.

Powerbi Report SEN 2:


Strategies and Plans

  • SEND Strategy for County Durham Local Area Partnership 2022-24
  • SEND Action Plan
  • Think Autism Plan
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health Partnership Plan 2023-25
  • Mainstream Schools Provision Descriptors and Funding Bands- Information for schools and other agencies 2022
  • Health Needs Assessment for Children and Young People with SEND- April 2020
  • Joint Commissioning Plan for SEND August 2022
  • County Durham Children and Young People’s Strategy 2019-20222

The Evidence Base

Our Local Offer provides access to a library of resources for children and young people, parents and carers and professionals in each of the four core SEND areas in the section

Cognition and learning resources

Resources to support children and young people with learning difficulties, or a difficulty in a specific area, such as reading or maths. For those who may need additional support with attention, memory, or organisation.

Communication and interaction resources

Resources to support children and young people who have difficulties with speech, language and communication. This can also include those who have difficulties interacting with others.

Social, emotional and mental health resources

Resources to support children and young people who have difficulty with relationships, or who may struggle with anxiety, depression or other persistent wellbeing difficulties. These difficulties can impact on behaviour.

Sensory and physical resources

Resources to support children and young people who may need help with physical movement, or accessing their environment, or who have a sensory impairment, such as sight or hearing loss. This section also covers children who may have sensory processing difficulties.

The Local Offer also provides practice guidance to learning providers and those supporting them to meet young peoples SEND needs with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) toolkit for providers – Durham County Council

Other relevant links