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Special Educational Needs and Disability 0 to 25 years

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Topic title Special Educational Needs and Disability 0 to 25 years
Topic owner Nicholas Lee, Director of Education Services, Nottingham City Council & David Johns, Deputy Director of Public Health, Nottingham City Council
Topic author(s) Jennifer Burton, Public Health Manager, Nottingham City Council, Janine Walker, Head of SEND, Nottingham City Council, Anna Glozier, Programme Manager, Nottingham City Council
Topic endorsed by SEND Partnership Assurance and Improvement Group
Replaces version 2016
Linked JSNA topics

Executive summary


This chapter considers the needs of children and young people, aged 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) also often referred to as (SEN) who live in Nottingham City. The SEND code of practice[1] highlights the importance of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for informing local authority and Integrated Care Board (ICB) joint commissioning for children and young people with SEND. The code of practice defines SEN as:

“A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age
  • or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 ”

Children and young people who have SEND may also have a disability under the Equality Act 2010[2]. The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” All children and young people with disabilities do not necessarily have SEN but there is significant overlap. The Nottingham City vision is “A city where every child and young person can enjoy their childhood in a warm and supporting environment, free from poverty and safe from harm; a city where every child grows up to achieve their full potential”[3].

Unmet need and gaps

There are a number of factors which may make a child more at risk of requiring SEND support or an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) such as smoking and alcohol or drug use during pregnancy and poverty is “both a cause and effect of SEND”[4]

In terms of inequalities:

  • There is ethnic disproportionality in the identification of SEND in England
  • Although children from low-income families are more likely to be identified as having SEND, they are less likely to receive support or effective
  • Research has shown people with a learning disability have worse physical and mental health than those without a learning
  • The numbers of Nottingham City 0-24 year-olds is projected to increase by 2% from 134,233 in 2018 to 142,587 in 2028.
  • 2023 School Census data shows that 8,283 of pupils in Nottingham City schools have SEND needs.
  • Children and young people with SEN support or an EHCP are more likely to be male and
  • The school census January 2023 shows the highest proportion (60%) of children aged 0-19 in City schools with an ECHP are educated in a special school or academy, and 40% in mainstream provision. According to the SEN2 return January 2023, which looks at children and young people aged 0-25 resident in Nottingham City with EHCPs, regardless of where they attend their educational provision, the split between special and mainstream provision is much more even, with 45.5% attending a specialist setting.
  • 16-17 year-olds with SEN Support in Nottingham City have a higher rate of participation in education or training than the England average, but those with an EHCP have a participation rate of 88% compared with the national rate of 91.4%.
  • The percentage uptake of annual health checks by those with learning disabilities is 76% at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS Level in 2022/2023 with the same target for 2023/24.
  • There is a need for more specialised SEND provision in Nottingham City. For example, a number of children are awaiting placement at a SEN school where it has been identified that their needs would be best met, however due to a lack of capacity within specialist provision, they are receiving their education at mainstream The Nottingham City SEND Sufficiency Strategy has recently been published outlining the needs in Nottingham, and additional SEND provision is in early design stage, funded through the High Needs Capital Funding provided by the DfE and funding from Section 106 developer contributions.
  • Children with profound physical disabilities are currently not well served within Nottingham and an overnight provision is required. There are currently about 20 young people who would utilise a regular overnight break service with a physical disability. Some of these take direct payments and some access provision out of the city but this is an area of highlighted need.
  • There needs to be continued improvement in the quality of preparation for adulthood for children and young people with SEND. The development of an all-age approach within SEND is a driver behind much of this
  • There are delays in accessing timely health support for children and young people, with SEND due to waiting lists within respective services including speech and language, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and the neurodevelopmental pathways.
  • There are system wide gaps in data collection and reporting which need to be addressed if a complete picture of children and young people with SEND is to be



Recommendations for consideration by commissioners



Data collation and reporting



Improved data capture, sharing and reporting for SEND indicators in all CYP and adult health services. Continue to develop a multiagency data dashboard to robustly capture and monitor outcome-based data (with a focus on health inequalities)

ICB, health providers, LA


Routinely collate and analyse data about SEND children and young people transitioning to adult services to inform service development and joint commissioning.

ICB, health providers, LA, PH


Routinely collate and analyse data about children and young people with SEND in the Youth Justice Services.

ICB, health providers, LA,


Service delivery



Review the feedback from the annual SEND parent carer forum survey and use information to inform improvements in service provision.

ICB, health providers, LA,


Ensure that Nottingham City can respond to the increasing children and young people with SEN needs which will lead to an increasing demand on services

LA, ICB, health providers


Continue to develop a continuum of specialist provision across the City to ensure that there is adequate capacity.  Ensure developments are shared with partners at an early stage of development




Review and refresh the Transitions Strategy and:

·         Ensure that this is embedded across the workforce

·         Ensure that young people and families have a clear pathway and information available at the right time to support a smooth transition

LA and ICB


Undertake a full commissioning review of Alternative Provision to ensure there is sufficient high quality provision available for young people unable to attend school






Review and implement improvements to health pathways for children with SEND to reduce waiting times and ensure ease of access for children and families.

Nottingham City and Notts County LA, ICB


SEND Local Offer



Continue to co-produce and refresh the current Local Offer website so that it is more easily navigated by parents and carers following earlier feedback that this was previously a challenge.

ICB, health providers, LA,


Develop a new communications plan for the SEND Local Offer to promote the site to members of the public and professionals

ICB, health providers, LA,


Ensure the SEND Local Offer information is reviewed and kept up to date through the agreed review process and engage with service providers to ensure they keep their records as up to date as possible

ICB, health providers, LA,


Work with the local provider market to develop and provide a range of short breaks including those delivered through internal provision, the community, commissioned services and those purchased through personal budgets.

ICB, health providers, LA,


Develop local overnight short breaks provision for children with complex and profound physical disabilities.



Continue to embed the Routes to Inclusion programme including domains Speech, Language & Communication, Cognition & Learning and Family & Community. Further development of the links between special provision and mainstream schools will extend the good practice, knowledge and expertise available across all settings, as part of ongoing CPD opportunities for teachers and support staff.



National Guidance



Implement the National SEND and AP improvement plan published in 2023

SEND Partnership Assurance and Improvement Group


Identifying and delivering the support needed by schools and families to keep children engaged in education who are unable to attend school due to health needs (as outlined in the DfE Guidance 2023)


LA, ICB, health providers


[1] SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years - GOV.UK (

[2] Equality Act 2010: guidance - GOV.UK (

[3] Nottingham City Children and Young People's Plan

[4] Special educational needs and their links to poverty | Joseph Rowntree Foundation (

Key contacts

Nicholas Lee, Director of Education Services, Nottingham City Council

Jenn Burton, Public Health Manager, Nottingham City Council

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