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Data Provider: Welsh Government Eligibility for free school meals and special educational needs of children in need by measure and year
[Collapse]Child StatusChildren in the census have been divided into three status categories for reporting, as follows: - Children who are looked after, who may also be on the child protection register - Children who are on the child protection register, but not looked after - Other children in need, who neither looked after, nor on the child protection register (includes unborn children). [Filtered]
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ComponentPercentage = Numerator divided by denominator multiplied by 100 Average = Numerator divided by denominator [Filtered]
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Percentage of children with eligibilty for free school mealsAged 5-15 at the start of the academic year. Pupils are entitled to free school meals if their families receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance or Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or the guarantee element of State Pension Credit.  They are also eligible if their parents are in receipt of Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (IR).  Employment and Support Allowance is an integrated contributory and income related allowance and replaced, for new claimants, Incapacity and Income Support, where it is paid on the grounds of incapacity and sickness.  Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.  Children whose families are in receipt of Child Tax Credit, providing they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit, and have an annual income, as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs that does47494949495049
Percentage of children with no special educational needsAged 5-15 at the start of the academic year.30313031313232
Percentage of children with special educational needs subject to school action or school action plusAged 5-15 at the start of the academic year.<br /><br />School Action: When a class or subject teacher identifies that a pupil has SEN they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual curriculum.<br /><br />School Action Plus: When the class or subject teacher and the SEN Co-ordinator are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions additional or different to those provided for the pupil through School Action can be put in place. The SEN Co-ordinator usually takes the lead although day-to-day provision continues to be the responsibility of the class or subject teacher.36373940414040
Percentage of children with a statement of special educational needsAged 5-15 at the start of the academic year. Pupils for whom the LA maintains a statement of SEN under Part IV of the Education Act 1996. A statement may be issued by the LA after assessment of a child’s needs.34323129282727


General description

The Census collected individual records on all children in need, including those looked after by a local authority, who had an open case with a local authority on the 31 March that had been open for the three months from 1 January to 31 March. The purpose of the Census is to collect data that measures the characteristics and attributes of children in need who receive social services from their local authorities, including children looked after by local authorities. The census has focussed particularly on data about the reason that children receive help from social services departments; parental capacity; and on the health and education outcomes for each child.

Data collection and calculation

Anonymised individual child level data is extracted from local authority administrative systems and returned electronically to the Data Collection team within the Welsh Government using an online secure data transfer system called 'AFON'. The AFON system applies an extensive series of validation checks to ensure that the information provided uses the correct codes and is internally consistent.

Frequency of publication


Data reference periods

Data are shown at 31 March for each year from 2010.

Users, uses and context

Please find this information in the related statistical publication, as per the given weblink.

Rounding applied

The following measures have been taken to minimise the risk of unwanted disclosure of personal data:
All figures have been rounded to the nearest five. Where there are less than five children in any group, the actual number has been suppressed, and replaced by the symbol *.

Revisions information

Data for 2010 to 2016 were revised on 16 December 2021.


Education of children in need at 31 March by child status, gender and local authority

Last update

16 December 2021 16 December 2021

Next update

No longer updated

Publishing organisation

Welsh Government

Source 1

Children Receiving Care and Support Census

Source 2

Children in need census (CiN) data collection, Welsh Government

Contact email



Lowest level of geographical disaggregation

Local authorities

Geographical coverage


Languages covered

English and Welsh

Data licensing

You may use and re-use this data free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government License - see


Children; Children in need

Statistical quality

Please find this information in the related statistical publication, as per the given weblink.