Knowsley has the second highest rate of deprivation in England, and as such issues including low life expectancy and low healthy life expectancy, low levels of educational attainment and employment in low skilled jobs are prevalent. The rate of children with identified special educational needs is high in Knowsley, and sits within the cycle of deprivation and poverty as both a cause and effect of the high rate of deprivation in the Borough.

As of 2017, 19.6% of Knowsley’s school-age population have a special educational need, and this marks a significant reduction from 2010, when 27% of children had a special educational need. Generations of children in Knowsley have experienced education with a special educational need, and although the long-term impact of this is unknown, national evidence shows that those with special educational needs are the most disadvantaged socially and economically.

Knowsley has a high prevalence of children with special educational needs and disabilities – in 2017, 19.6% of children in Knowsley had an identified special educational need. The combined rate of SEN support and children with EHCPs in 2017 meant that Knowsley had the third highest rate of SEN in England. While the number of children with SEN Support has decreased over the last two-years (Knowsley had the highest rate of children with SEN in 2016), the historical high numbers of children with special educational needs will have long-term impacts on services for children in Knowsley and their resources, and on Knowsley’s adult population, and their employment and wellbeing prospects.

There is an over-identification of children who have “moderate learning difficulties” in Knowsley. This high rate of prevalence of MLD makes comparisons about different SEN identifications difficult. National research has indicated that poverty and SEND can be conflated in schools, with some children identified as having SEND because of under-achievement attributable to cultural and social factors associated with living in poverty.

The SEND JSNA can be accessed here SEND JSNA 2018