80 percent of UK children in care require special education need, study finds

Approximately four out of five children taken to care in the UK required support from special education needs according to a new study. The study also showed services rendered to these children are vital to their development.

A new study, which examined data of almost half a million students who began school in September 2005 found that 6,240 students ended up in care at some point in their education system.

The importance of special education need provisions

The study also found that, of the 6,240 students who ended up in care, 83 percent of these students required special education needs (SEN). The researchers from UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health stated,

The data shows that a much higher proportion of children who have entered care received in-school provision for SEN than would appear to be the case from official annual figures.

They were surprised by the sheer number of students who required SEN intervention during their care. A quarter of the number that was admitted in care received an education, health, and care plan SEN provisions.

The research also showed that 57,200 children came into contact with social services under category needs rather than care. Of these children, the researchers determined that 37 percent required additional provisions for their needs, and 65 percent required provision for SEN.

The study was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood and comes at a time when SEN provision is under attack. Proposals being floated point to cuts being implemented in SEN provisions.

The lead author highlighted the need for these provisions by stating,

These findings highlight just how important provision for special educational needs is for many thousands of children. Special educational needs provision affects a large segment of the population – for some groups, the large majority.

If the cuts are implemented, they will severely affect the children who need special attention. They will also special needs education staff’s ability to deal with cases that require their attention.


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