Article Text

Download PDFPDF
P102 Special educational needs of primary school aged children with neurodevelopmental conditions: a population cohort study using linked health and education records
  1. Ania Zylbersztejn,
  2. Vincent Nguyen,
  3. Ruth Gilbert,
  4. Katie Harron
  1. Population, Policy, Practice Research and Teaching Department, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK


Background Schools in England are required to make adaptations to support children who have difficulties with learning, referred to as Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision. One in three children have SEN indicated at least once during their time in school. We use novel data linkage between health and education records to describe SEN provision for children with neurodevelopmental conditions expected to have higher need for SEN intervention and in unaffected peers.

Methods We developed a national cohort of children entering primary school (aged 5–6) in 2009/10–2014/15 using the Education and Child Health Insights from Linked Data (ECHILD). Children were followed-up from birth until the end of primary school. Children with neurodevelopmental conditions (autism, learning disability, hyperactivity disorders, developmental delay, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, sensory impairments, other) were indicated using hospital admission records before 5 years old. Information about SEN provision (school-based SEN support or more intense provision via Education, Health and Care plan, EHCP) was derived from education records at ages 5–11 years old. We additionally used school readiness assessments at age 4–5 to indicate children who did not reach a good level of development (GLD, including children who were not assessed), as an additional measure of learning needs. For each condition, we calculated the proportion of children who had recorded SEN support/EHCP at the start, the end and ever during primary school, and the proportion of children who did not reach GLD.

Results The cohort included 3,675,796 children, of whom 30% had ever recorded SEN support, 3.7% had ever recorded EHCP and 45% did not reach GLD. 116,309 (3.2%) children had at least one neurodevelopmental condition, of whom 41% had ever recorded SEN support, 29% had ever recorded EHCP, and 66% did not reach GLD. Children with learning disability or autism had the lowest rates of ever recorded SEN support, but highest rates of ever recorded EHCP. Across all conditions the proportion of children with recorded SEN support declined between first and last year of school, while the proportion with recorded EHCP increased. 1,527,592 (42% of all) children with no neurodevelopmental conditions did not reach GLD, of whom 51% had ever recorded SEN support and 6% had ever recorded EHCP.

Conclusion Children with neurodevelopmental conditions have varying levels of SEN provision, with more intensive provision increasing and less intensive provision decreasing during primary school. Further work will examine contribution of geographic, health and socioeconomic factors to variation in SEN provision.

  • special educational needs
  • administrative data
  • neurodevelopmental conditions

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.