RNIB briefing on official data on children and young people with vision impairment in England 2016

Title: Official data on children and young people with vision impairment in England 2016. RNIB briefing 1: population characteristics; RNIB briefing report 2: attainment of early years and primary school aged children with VI as their primary (main) SEN in 2016; RNIB briefing report 3: attainment at Key Stage 4 (GCSE level), Author: Sue Keil, Publisher: RNIB, based on official DfE statistics, Year of publication: 2016 (DfE) 2017 (RNIB)

Background

This is a series of RNIB briefings in which we present data published by the Department for Education (DfE). The data in these briefings are taken from tables published on the DfE website and apply to the academic year 2015/2016. The figures apply to pupils in state funded education settings including nursery schools, academies, free schools, city technology colleges and further education colleges with provision for 14- to 16-year-olds, and state funded special schools and special academies, including free schools  in England in 2016.  

Most of the official SEN data that is published by DfE relates only to pupils’ primary (or main) special educational need (SEN). However, in a separate publication, DfE has included some additional tables giving a breakdown by primary and secondary SEN type. Information from these additional tables is presented in the RNIB briefing report 1, which gives numbers of pupils with VI as their primary or secondary SEN, and the types of SEN that co-occur with VI.

RNIB briefing report 1, as well as all of briefing reports 2 and 3, also contains information that relates only to pupils with VI as their primary SEN.  Some of the information in briefing 1, and all of the information in briefings 2 and 3 therefore excludes pupils whose secondary SEN is VI, and as a consequence, are an under-representation of the population of pupils with VI. By excluding pupils whose secondary SEN is VI, they also under-represent pupils with VI and additional SEN. 

Key Findings

Local authorities that use the published statistics to benchmark their own data on pupils with VI should use caution when using the data that is by primary SEN group only. That is because the published data under-represent both the number of pupils with VI and the proportion with additional SEN.

Pupils whose primary or secondary SEN was VI

  • 16,701 pupils with an EHCP or on ‘SEN support’ were recorded as having VI as their primary or secondary SEN
  • 11,592 pupils had VI as their primary SEN and 5,109 had VI as their secondary SEN
  • Even when pupils with VI as their secondary SEN were included in the total, the number of pupils with VI was almost 10,000 fewer than the number who were known to specialist VI education services in 2015
  • 50% of pupils with VI had an additional SEN
  • The majority (72%) of pupils with VI as their primary SEN had no additional SEN recorded
  • The majority of pupils with VI were on ‘SEN support’ rather than having an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or statement
  • Most pupils who had an EHCP/statement had another SEN in addition to their VI

Pupils whose primary SEN was VI

  • 11,592 pupils with an EHCP or on ‘SEN support’ were recorded as having VI as their primary SEN
  • Three quarters (74.8%) of pupils with VI as their primary SEN were of White background, most of whom were White British
  • Only 769 (6.6%) pupils with VI as their primary SEN attended special schools
  • 372 special schools in England had approved provision for pupils with VI – the main designation of the vast majority of these schools was for pupils with types of SEN other than VI
  • Just under a quarter (22.8%) of pupils with VI were claiming free schools meals

Attainment of pupils in nursery and primary school settings whose primary (main) SEN was VI

  • While pupils with VI as their primary SEN were for most early years and primary age phases and subjects the highest attaining of the SEN groups, there was still a gap of between 16% and 28% between VI pupils and all pupils undergoing the same assessment
  • The number of pupils with VI as their primary SEN who were eligible for assessment ranged from 563 who were assessed for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFSP) to 878 at Key Stage 2
  • Only 44% of children with VI were assessed as having reached a ‘good level of development’ in the EYFSP compared to 69% of all children
  • 59% of children with VI were assessed as having met the expected level of phonic decoding in Year 1, compared to 81% of all children
  • Half of pupils with VI reached the expected standard in KS1 reading and mathematics compared to just under three quarters of all pupils
  • A third of pupils with VI reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics (combined) at KS2 compared to just over half of all pupils

Attainment of pupils in maintained settings at the end of Key Stage 4 whose primary (main) SEN was VI

  • Pupils with VI as their primary SEN were the highest attaining of all the SEN groups at GCSE
  • 43.1% of pupils with VI achieved five or more A* to C grades or equivalent including English and Maths compared with 57.4% of all pupils
  • 28.1% of pupils with VI were entered for all five components of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which is GCSE in English, maths, science, a language, and history or geography, compared with 39.7% of all pupils who were entered
  • 16.1% of pupils with VI achieved a grade C or above in all five components of the English Baccalaureate compared with 24.7% of all pupils
  • The average Attainment 8 score for pupils with VI was 43.7 compared with  49.9  for all pupils. This is 1.7 points higher than in 2014/15 for VI pupils compared to an increase of 1.5 points for all pupils
  • The progress between KS2 and KS4 for pupils with VI was slightly below average when compared with all pupils