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Vulnerable Children and Young People

Explore this topic in more detail (Children with
Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND))

 Headline Data

Child and Infant Mortality

  • Between 2013 and 2015 there were 29 infant deaths (aged under 1) or 4.3 per 1,000 live births compared with the England average of 3.9 [Chart - Infant mortality rates]. [1]
  • Between 2013 and 2015 there were 12 child deaths (aged 1 - 17) or 11.0 per 100,000 population (DSR or Directly Standardised Rate - this removes any difference due to age so that Gateshead is comparable with other areas) compared with the England average of 11.9 (this is not significantly different) [Chart - Child mortality rates]. [2]
  • See also 'Environment - Heatwaves'

    Unintentional and Deliberate Injuries in Children

  • See also 'Injuries and Falls'


  • Increasing breastfeeding at an early stage in life is expected to reduce illness in young children and have health benefits for both the child and mother. In Gateshead 67.5% of mothers breastfed their babies within the first 48 hours after delivery in 2014/15. This is significantly lower than the England average of 74.3% [Chart - Breastfeeding initiation][3] The low level of breastfeeding continues at 6-8 weeks, with just 36.7% still being breastfed, compared with an England average of 43.2%. [Chart - Breastfeeding prevalence at 6-8 weeks]. [4]

    Children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

  • A number of fundamental changes have been made locally and nationally in relation to the identification, assessment and provision of SEND (special educational needs and/or Disability) support as a result of the Government's SEND reforms in 2014. Statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA) have been replaced with a single Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan for children and young people with complex needs. For those with SEN or disabilities who do not need an EHC plan, the Government has introduced SEN support, which replaces School Action and School Action Plus.
  • Pupils with SEND in Gateshead - In January 2017, a total of 4,398 pupils in Gateshead were reported by schools to have a special educational need or disability, which equates to 15% of the whole school population (years 1-11). Of these, 21% had either a statement of SEN or Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and 79% were categorised as ‘SEN Support’ (previously School Action and School Action Plus). [5]

  • Pupils with either a statement of SEN or EHC Plan account for 3% of all pupils in Gateshead - The number of pupils with either a statement of SEN or EHC Plan has increased from 787 in 2011 to 927 in 2017. 177 of these pupils attend primary schools, 159 attend secondary schools and 561 attend special schools. [5]

  • Pupils requiring SEN Support account for 12% of all pupils in Gateshead - The number of pupils with SEN but without a statement of SEN or EHC plan has significantly decreased in line with regional and national figures, from 4,859 in 2010 to 3,471 in 2017. 2,221 of these pupils attend primary schools, 1,020 attend secondary schools and 10 attend special schools. [5]

  • Pupils attending a special school - The number of pupils being taught in special schools in Gateshead has risen from 400 in 2011 to 571 in 2017. Of these 561 had a statement or EHC plan and 10 were categorised as SEN support. [5]

  • The largest categories of special educational need are moderate learning difficulties, social emotional mental health, speech language and communication needs, specific learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. [5]

    Child Protection 

  • At 31st March 2017 the rate of children subject to a child protection plan per 10,000 stood at 78.7 per 10,000 (314 children). This is almost double the England rate of 43.1 and 32% higher than the North East rate of 59.6, both reported at March 2016. [6]Child Protection Cases per10000Child Protection Cases
  • Categories given as the reason for the CP plan are an 'on the day' count and thus provide a snapshot picture.  Those children subject to a plan as a result of neglect continue to remain the highest proportion at 67.8%, whereas emotional abuse numbers are lower than the same time last year. [6]Child Protection Cases Category
  • Working Together Guidance 2013 defines neglect as:"The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development". [7]
  • 41% of cases where section 47 enquiries have been undertaken during April 2016 – March 2017 (287/699) do not progress to an Initial Child Protection Conference, however, of those that do, 84.4% (384/455) become subject to a child protection plan. [6]
  • Compared to 2015-2016, we have seen an increase in those aged 0-4, 5-9 and 10-15 becoming subject to a CP plan in 2016-2017. [6]Child Protection Cases Age

    Looked After Children  

  • At March 2017 there were 376 (94.2 per 10,000) children and young people who were classed as being looked after. [8] This compares with 343 (85.5 per 10,000) reported in the previous year at March 2016. The figure for Gateshead is also 57% higher than the latest England rate (60), and 12% higher than the latest reported North East rate (84). [9]Looked After Children per 10000Looked After Children


  • When examining the numbers of children who came into care over the last 12 months (April 2016 – March 2017), there has been a decrease in children coming into care between the ages of 0–4, 5–9 and 10-15 year olds. [8]Looked After Children Age

    Young Parents   

  • The number of teenage pregnancies in young people aged between 15-17 years of age in 2015 was 90 - the lowest number in recent history, and down from 119 the previous year. [10] The longer term trend is down, having reduced from a high of 202 in 2000 and there has been a steady decrease since then.  The rate per 1,000 in 2015 was 27.8, 6.9 percentage points lower than the 2014 rate. This compares with a 2.2 percentage points reduction across the North East and a 2.0 percentage points reduction across England as a whole. Gateshead's current Under 18s conception rate of 27.8 is similar to the North East rate of 28.0, and higher than the England rate of 20.8.
  • According to pooled 2013 to 2015 data, the wards of Birtley, Chopwell & Rowlands Gill, Deckham, Felling, High Fell, and Windy Nook & Whitehills all have significantly higher under 18 conception rates than the England median rate. Only Dunston Hill & Whickham East is significantly lower than the England median. [11]
  • The number of under 16 conceptions in 2015 was 22, a rate per 1,000 of 7.6. This rate has reduced slightly from 8.7 in 2014 [10]. Although it is difficult to be definitive about the trend because of the small numbers involved, it had been upwards since 2011 until the small reduction in 2015. In 2011, the number of under 16 conceptions was 18 and the rate was 5.3. Gateshead's current under 16 rate of 7.6 is higher than the North East rate of 6.2 and higher than the England rate of 3.7.
  • In 2015 the percentage of under 18 conceptions leading to abortion was 50.0%, an increase from 41.2% in 2014 [10]. Prior to this the proportion had been reducing since 2012 when it was 49.1%. The North East average in 2015 was 40.5% and the England average was 51.2%.

    [1] Infant Mortality, ONS, 2013-15 (Public Health Outcomes Framework website)

    [2] Child Mortality, ONS, 2013-15 (Child and Maternal Health website)

    [3] NHS England, Breastfeeding initiation 2014/15 (Breastfeeding website)

    [4] NHS England, Breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks 2015/16 (Breastfeeding website)

    [5] Gateshead Special Educational Needs Assessment and Disabilities Needs Assessment 2017, Jan 2017 School Census, Gateshead Council

    [6] Children In Need Census, 2015/16

    [7] Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, March 2015

    [8] Gateshead Council, Mar 2017

    [9] Children looked after in England, including adoption - Local Authority Tables: SFR41/2016 ( website)

    [10] Conceptions Statistics, ONS, 2015, (ONS website)

    [11] Conceptions Statistics for wards, ONS VSOB, 2013-15