Time series information on pupils with a statement of special educational needs is available in the Statistical First Release Special Educational Needs in England: January 2009, published in June 2009 at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000852/index.shtml (table 1a). Further details were published at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/STA /t000851/index.shtml.
In 2004, the Department for Education and Skills published an SEN strategy, Removing Barriers to Achievement, which recommended greater delegation of SEN funding to schools so they could intervene earlier to meet children's SEN and set out a programme to improve mainstream schools' ability to provide for a wider range of children with SEN without the need for a statement. The Government made clear that implementation of the strategy would not lead to a reduction in children's entitlement to receive appropriate support and that local authorities' duty to draw up statements, where necessary, remained unchanged.
The number of SEN statements peaked at around 258,000 in 2001 and has steadily decreased to 221,670 in 2009.