Population Outcomes: People in Suffolk and North East Essex have Good Education
A good education provides the basis for accessing good work, provides the skills required for life-long learning and development and gives a foundation of supportive social connections. It increases chances of living a healthier life and can help to reduce the chance of later inequalities.
Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
- Between 2015/16 and 2020/21, the number of pupils receiving special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support in all schools in Suffolk increased from 10,803 to 12,670 (a significant increase from 9.9% to 11.4%). Although increasing, the current proportion in Suffolk remains significantly lower (statistically) than England (12.2%) and Suffolk’s statistical neighbours (13.0%).
- The top five most common primary needs among pupils receiving SEND support in Suffolk in 2020/21 were: speech, language, and communication needs (19.8%); social, emotional, and mental health needs (17.6%); specific learning difficulties (17.4%); moderate learning difficulties (13.7%); other difficulties or disabilities (10%).
- In 2021/22, 4,327 pupils in Suffolk had a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care (EHC) plan in Suffolk (3,964 excluding pupils at independent schools). Among pupils with a statement or an EHC plan in Suffolk (excluding pupils at independent schools), the most common primary needs in 2021/22 were: autism spectrum (25.0%), speech, language, and communication needs (16.2%), and social, emotional and mental health needs (14.0%).
Source: State of Children in Suffolk
- Whilst the all-pupil school population has increased by 6.7% (2015/16 to 2020/21), the number of pupils in receipt of SEN Support has risen by 14.8% and those with an EHCP by 15.7%.
- The nature of needs among these pupils has also shifted. There have been significant increases in pupils with Autism (+81.8%), Social, Emotional & Mental Health needs (+39.3%) and Speech, Language & Communication Needs (+29.7%).
- The age profile has also changed. This is most pronounced among 16-19 year olds where nearly one in five of all EHCPs are held by young people in this age group. In addition, around one in twenty EHCPs are held by young people aged 20-25. Collectively, 22.8% of the EHCP population was above the age of 16 in 2021.
- Looking at newly issued EHCPs since 2018 shows that Essex is placing fewer pupils in mainstream settings than across England. Of all newly issued EHCPs during the 2020 calendar year, 32.2% of those in Essex were placed in mainstream compared to 37.0% nationally.
- The number of requests for Education, Health and Care Needs assessments has increased by 66% from 2015/16 to 2020/21, which equates to an additional 1084 requests a year.
- Over the past 5 years, exclusions and suspensions for children displaying persistent disruptive behaviour have been steadily increasing. The number and percentage of children and young people permanently excluded from school for persistent disruptive behaviour has risen from 14 pupils (26.92% of exclusions) in the academic year 2014/15 to 29 (39.19% of exclusions) in 2019/20. Suspensions (fixed term exclusions) have risen across the same period from 1438 to 2469.
Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)
|Indicator||Suffolk||Essex||East of England|
|% of 16-17 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) (2020)||4.3%||4.3%||4.3%|
The Story Behind the Outcome
Health and wellbeing at school
Expectations and assumptions about pupils: Teachers may have differing expectations of pupils based on their ethnic, gender and background, giving more time and attention to those they expect to achieve highly, and allowing lower-expectancy pupils to behave worse, receive more punishments and fewer rewards.
Bullying and discrimination: Children and young people may be targeted in particular on the basis of their race, religion or sexual orientation. Bullying can be reduced by creating a positive culture, strong social cohesion and equality of opportunity, good parent-teacher and pupil-teacher relationships, and consistent application of bullying policies in practice.
A healthy school environment: Schools can support pupils’ health and wellbeing by including healthy behaviours in the curriculum, providing a healthy and safe environment, involving parents, health services and the community, a strengths-based approach to wellbeing, and a respectful and warm environment that creates a feeling of belonging.
Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
- A lack of joint commissioning
- Lack of clarity on who was accountable for services and provision.
- Problems with the identification and assessment of children and young people’s needs.
- Poor-quality education, health and care plans (EHC plans)
- No co-production, or co-production that was not working properly
- A continuing lack of ambition for pupils with SEND.
- Attendance at school for this group remained below national averages and exclusions were often high.
- More opportunities for further education, supported employment, and training, but only a tiny minority ended up in sustained employment.
- During the pandemic, healthcare such as physiotherapy and speech and language services stopped, leading to a worsening of children and young people’s health. Social care and respite ceased, leaving parents exhausted and at times in despair. Some pupils were told their care needs could not be met, and those who were able to attend school had a reduced curriculum.
- People who grew up in income-deprived households in England have lower average earnings aged 30 years than their peers, even when matching educational level and secondary school attainment.
- Part of this gap in earnings is because of people from income-deprived backgrounds being much less likely to go on to higher education.
- But even among those with the same qualification level and similar attainment in secondary school, disadvantaged pupils went on to earn less than their peers.
Looked after children
- Only a quarter of looked after young people achieve 5 or more GCSE grades A* to C compared to three quarters of all pupils.
- Reasons include instability of care and school placements, inadequate support, low expectations and aspirations, lower starting levels because of earlier adversities, poorly informed teachers and social workers, and carers not sufficiently engaged in the child or young person’s education.
- An effective personal education plan (PEP) and avoiding disrupting education where possible should be an integral part of the care planning process; the PEP should be regularly reviewed and updated.
- Teachers and carers should understand the impact of abuse and neglect on learning, and the likelihood of looked after young people entering higher education.
- Carers and social workers should provide learning support at home and encourage social and leisure activities to develop the child or young person’s interests and talents, improve their self-esteem and confidence, develop their social skills, and build up support networks.
- Access to education and training, good careers advice and opportunities for work or apprenticeships, with financial support, help young people to develop their self-belief and prepares them for adult life.
Safeguarding from sexual abuse
- Sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are for children and young people are so prevalent that for some children, incidents are so commonplace that they see no point in reporting them.
- Nearly 90% of girls, and nearly 50% of boys, said being sent explicit pictures or videos of things they did not want to see happens a lot or sometimes to them or their peers.
- 92% of girls, and 74% of boys, said sexist name-calling happens a lot or sometimes to them or their peers.
- Sexual violence mainly happened in unsupervised spaces outside of school, such as parties or parks, but some girls experienced unwanted touching in school corridors.
- Children and young people, especially girls, do not want to talk about sexual abuse for due to the risk of being ostracised by peers or getting peers into trouble, thinking they will not be believed, or that they will be blamed, and once they disclose to an adult, the process will be out of their control.
- Relationships and Sexual Health Education was too little, too late and did not give them the right information and advice, so they turned to social media or their peers to educate each other.
- Some teachers and leaders underestimated the scale of the problem, and consistently underestimated the prevalence of online sexual abuse.
- School and college leaders needed greater guidance on how to proceed when criminal investigations do not lead to a prosecution or conviction.
The review recommended a multi-agency approach, with partners acting as though sexual harassment and abuse is happening, even where there are no specific reports.
References & Further Reading
- Pupils speak out about UK child poverty – YouTube
- Healthy schools and pupils | The King’s Fund (kingsfund.org.uk)
- How do our education and skills influence our health?
- The role of education in reducing health inequalities – Health Action Campaign
- The influence of education on health: an empirical assessment of OECD countries for the period 1995–2015 | Archives of Public Health | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
- The Causal Effects of Education on Health Outcomes in the UK Biobank – PMC (nih.gov)
- Education: a neglected social determinant of health – The Lancet Public Health
- fair-society-healthy-lives-full-report-pdf.pdf (instituteofhealthequity.org)
People in Suffolk and North East Essex have Good Education
|I have a supportive educational environment free from bullying and abuse||An educational environment with a positive, inclusive culture and creates a sense of belonging enables me to flourish.|
Knowing the harms that bullying and abuse can cause, including online abuse, and how to keep myself safe, helps me to feel and stay well.
|I have a high quality education that is tailored to my health and care needs.||A high quality Education, Health and Care plan for my special educational needs and disabilities enables me to be supported to have a good experience at school and achieve good qualifications. |
A high quality Personal Education Plan as a Looked After Child enables me to be supported to have a good experience at school and achieve good qualifications.
|I have aspirations, and opportunities to fulfil my potential now, and in the future||Having the hope of a career and a good quality of life as an adult encourages me to achieve at school and fulfil my potential.|
How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex
|We will work together as parents, schools, health and care and communities to create an environment and opportunities for children and young people to thrive.||We will work together with children, parents and partner organisations to ensure children and young people with SEND, and Looked After Children, have high quality plans to provide them with good care and education.|
|We will teach children and young people, their parents and carers how to recognise and report bullying and abuse, and how to keep themselves safe, enables children and young people to keep physically and mentally well.||We will support children and young people to have aspirations for their careers and their adult lives, to enable them to fulfil their potential.|
|We will work together effectively to safeguard those children and young people who experience harms and abuse.||We will as health and care employers, encourage young people, especially from marginalised groups, to take up apprenticeships, work experience, volunteering and jobs in our organisations.|
Case Studies – how we are making progress across Suffolk & North East Essex
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