The SENDiT Blog


5 key data points for SENDCOs

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Gary Aubin, MAT SEND lead and author of The LoneSENDCO, tells us which pupil data every SENDCO should know...

The word ‘data’ sends some SENDCOs into a panic. But you don’t need to know everything.

Try to know these 5 bits of data in your setting, to ensure you can be data-informed in your decision-making, where it makes sense to be.

The data to know

1.     The size of your SEND register

Not just how many children are on your SEND register, but also what this means in comparison to national averages.

It maybe that your setting has got a far higher/lower percentage than the national average. Although this could be accurate, knowing your comparison to national average might be the catalyst for recognising some over/under-identification.

Knowing your comparison to the national average may also be particularly useful in conversations with a Headteacher, when you’re requesting additional resource.

You might want to find out:

-       The % of pupils in your school withEHCPs/receiving SEN Support

-       The prevalence of students with SEND in particular year groups

-       Any over-representation on the SEND register of certain groups – students eligible for Pupil Premium, students with EAL, boys, particular year groups, etc.


% of children with EHCPs nationally: 3.7%

% of children receiving SEN Support nationally: 12.2%

2.     What primary need

Though children are about far more than a diagnostic label, you should know what the most prevalent primary need is in your school.

This could help you to think about making changes to your provision, so that what you do more adequately matches your pupils’ needs.

It could also help you to reflect on any areas in which you are not assessing/identifying readily enough – or even that you’re identifying too readily in certain areas.

You might want to find out:

-       Which types of SEND are most prevalent in your school setting

-       Whether you have many students categorised as‘Other’ or ‘No Specialist Assessment’; you might then check if this is stillthe most appropriate category.

3.     Attendance

Find ways to regularly look at the attendance of students with SEND.

A collated average may/may not be a meaningful number, based on the size of your cohort, but it is a useful starting point for addressing attendance. Make sure it isn’t used to take blanket actions that may do unintentional harm, i.e. writing threatening letters to the parents of all students with below 90% attendance.

Look at the individuals behind the number and consider individual circumstances. This can lead to some effective, child-centred work, with personalised actions that support students to attend school more, wherever possible.

You might want to find out:

-       The average attendance of students with SEND in your school.

-       Whether students with a particular type of primary need are those not attending school.

-       What the difference is between the attendance of students with SEND and the attendance of students without SEND.


National average attendance, pre-COVID:

No SEN – 4.3%

All pupils – 4.7%

SEN Support – 6.5%

EHCP – 8.7%


4.     Academic data

Not every student with SEND can have their academic development sufficiently measured using National Curriculum assessments. There are other systems for students where this is the case. And of course, we’re interested in the holistic development of the child, not only academic progress/attainment.

However, academic data is one essential indicator of whether school is going well for a child. And, let’s be honest, ensuring that students make good academic progress is one of the main reasons we all work in schools.

Therefore, whenever academic data is collected, a SENDCO should be a part of its analysis. That doesn’t mean the follow-up (tutoring, parental support, pastoral intervention for the child, work with teachers, etc.) all lies at your door, but it does mean you ensuring that such support is being provided.


National averages for attainment/progress, students with SEND:

EarlyYears Foundation Stage

GoodLevel of Development: 25% (no SEN: 77%)

Phonics screening check

Meeting the expected standard: 43% (no SEN: 88%)

KeyStage 1

Achieving the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics: 30%

(noSEN: 83%)

KeyStage 2

Achieving the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics: 22%

(noSEN: 74%)

KeyStage 4

AverageAttainment 8: 27.6 (no SEN: 49.9)

AverageProgress 8: -0.62 (no SEN: 0.08) 

You might want to find out:

-       Which students on the SEND register are making excellent progress. Are they only making progress because of your excellent provision, or should you be working with parents (and the young person, where appropriate) to consider whether the student still needs to be on the register?

-       Which students on the SEND register are making poor progress from their starting point. Is the support in place sufficient or does the support need to be changed/increased?

-       Which students not on the SEND register are making poor progress from their starting point. Is there slower progress due to other factors or is some SEND assessment/identification necessary?


5.     Exclusions


Students who receive SEN Support are over 3 times more likely to receive a fixed-term exclusion and almost 6 times as likely to be permanently excluded, compared to students without SEND. Knowing your school’s exclusions data is the first step to effectively supporting students with their behaviour and to supporting colleagues to implement reasonable adjustments for students with SEND, where needed. 

You might want to find out:

-       How many children on the SEND register have had one or more fixed term exclusions this year

-       Whether your school collects behaviour data not related to exclusions (detentions, reflection time sessions, etc.), and what this looks like for students with SEND.

% of students receiving1 or more fixed period exclusion nationally:

EHCP – 6.43%

SEN support – 6.09%

All pupils – 2.33%

No SEN – 1.68%

Data will never be the whole picture. An individual pupil can’t be reduced to a number.

However, knowing these simple bits of data for your school can help you to be a strategic SENDCO, aligning your provision to your cohort and helping you to understand what to celebrate and where to intervene.


Special educational needs: analysis and summary of data sources - GOV.UK (

Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England, Academic Year 2019/20 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (