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The inequity of education, health and care plan provision for children and young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Lee, I. O., Wolstencroft, J., Housby, H., van den Bree, M. B. M. ORCID:, Chawner, S. J. R. A., Hall, J. ORCID:, IMAGINE ID Consortium and Skuse, D. H. 2024. The inequity of education, health and care plan provision for children and young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 10.1111/jir.13139

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Background: Children and young people (CYP) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) have significant additional educational needs compared with the general population. In England, the government has established a system of education, health and care plans (EHCPs) to support children with special educational needs and disabilities, but disparities exist between the degree of need and the availability of support. We conducted a prospective UK national cohort study (IMAGINE) of children with rare pathogenic genomic variants, all of which are associated with IDD, to investigate associated neuropsychiatric risk. Subsequently, we obtained information from the UK's National Pupil Database on their educational progress through the state school system. We aimed to identify whether they had received EHCP provision and whether that support was associated with their family's socioeconomic status, region of domicile, ethnicity, sex, primary special educational needs (SEN) type, academic performance and mental health well‐being. Methods: We recruited 2738 CYP from England into the IMAGINE study between 2014 and 2019. The educational histories of the participants (6–28 years old, mean ± standard deviation = 14 ± 4 years, 56% male) were obtained from the Department for Education's National Pupil Database in 2021. Educational data included attainment scores from the Early Year Foundation Stage (<5 years) to key stage 4 (15–16 years). Each family was assigned an index of multiple deprivation (IMD) score based on their home address postcode. Parents or carers rated their child's emotional and behavioural adjustment on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The association between receiving an EHCP and the child's IMD score, eligibility for free school meals, English region of domicile, ethnicity, sex, primary SEN type, academic attainment and SDQ score was investigated. Results: In this cohort, 78% of participants had received an EHCP. CYP living in the most deprived IMD deciles were substantially less likely to receive EHCP support than those in the least deprived decile, irrespective of their degree of intellectual developmental disability, academic performance or associated mental health problems. There were no sex differences. Children of Asian heritage were more likely to have been granted an EHCP than White children from equivalent IMD deciles. There were striking regional disparities. Participants living in London were significantly more likely to have been awarded an EHCP than participants living anywhere else in England, regardless of their IMD decile; those in the least deprived decile had almost 100% EHCP provision. Conclusions: This study found evidence for nationwide regional inconsistencies in the awarding of EHCP to CYP with significant intellectual impairments of known genetic aetiology. Disparities in funds available to education authorities could be a contributory factor. EHCP support was potentially influenced by how strongly a parent advocates for their child.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0964-2633
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 May 2024
Date of Acceptance: 13 March 2024
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 14:00

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