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Increasing SEN Demand Within Mainstream Schools


In the realm of special education, recent trends in England have been nothing short of transformative. The latest data reveals a surge in the requirement of support for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), signalling a shift towards greater inclusivity. This article delves into the key statistics and trends surrounding Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plans and SEN support, highlighting the increasing need for specialised assistant withing mainstream schools.

Embracing Mainstream Education

While Active SEN has traditionally focused on providing specialised support within Special Educational environments, the evolving landscape calls for a broader approach. The data indicates a significant increase in the percentage of pupils with an EHC plan attending mainstream schools – from 51.4% to 52.7% in 2023 alone. This uptick is indicative of a growing demand for tailored support in mainstream settings.

EHC Plans: A Growing Imperative

The adoption of Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plans has been instrumental in this paradigm shift. In 2020/21, 3.7% of pupils had EHC plans, up from 3.3% the previous year. By 2022/23, the number of pupils with EHC plans had surged to 389,171 – a notable 9.5% increase from the previous year. This equates to 4.3% of pupils benefiting from EHC plans, highlighting the urgency for Active SEN to extend our services to mainstream schools.

SEN Support: An Expanding Mandate

The data also highlights a marked increase in pupils receiving SEN support without an EHC plan. In 2020/21, this figure stood at 12.2%, compared to 12.1% in the previous year. By 2022/23, it had grown to 1,183,384 pupils – a 4.7% surge from 2022. This translates to 13.0% of pupils now receiving SEN support, underlining the growing demand for our specialised services.

Diverse Needs, Specialised Solutions

Understanding the unique needs of students is at the heart of effective support. For those with an EHC plan, the most common requirement is related to Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Conversely, for students under SEN support without a plan, Speech, Language, and Communication needs predominate. This insight reinforces the critical role Active SEN can play in providing tailored solutions to meet the distinctive challenges faced by these individuals.

Seizing Opportunities in Mainstream Education

The data is a clear call to action to us at Active SEN. With the demand for specialised support in mainstream schools on the rise, expanding our services to cater to this segment is both a strategic move and a moral imperative. The increasing percentage of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream schools highlights the urgency to extend our reach.


As the data vividly illustrates, the need for specialised support in mainstream educational settings is on an upward trajectory. Our agency stands at a pivotal juncture, poised to meet this demand head-on. By broadening our scope to include mainstream schools, we not only respond to the evolving educational landscape but also reaffirm our commitment to inclusivity in education. The future holds great promise, and with our expertise and expanded services, we are better poised than ever to make a meaningful impact in the lives of students with special educational needs.

If you are involved with staffing at SEN or Mainstream schools, please get in Touch!



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