Research and analysis

Supporting SEND

How children and young people's special educational needs (SEN) are met in mainstream schools.

Applies to England



Around 1.4 million pupils in English schools have an identified special educational need (SEN). These range from the most severe to comparatively minor. Research suggests that there are varying interpretations and practices across professionals, schools and local authorities in both SEN identification and provision.

Four broad areas of need are identified in the SEND code of practice:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • sensory and/or physical needs

This study was developed to explore how the needs of children and young people are met in mainstream schools and how approaches vary between providers.

Published 13 May 2021
Last updated 13 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added a summary of the report for children and young people.

  2. First published.