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Disability Data Collection for Children’s Services

children with disability


There has been an ongoing concern about the lack of reliable data on disabled children in schools. Schools in England are currently required to collect data on children with Special Educational Need (SEN), but this does not capture information about all disabled children and to date there has been no consistent way of identifying and categorising disabilities. The lack of this information may seriously restrict capacity at all levels of policy and practice to understand and respond to the needs of disabled children and their families in line with the Disability Equality Duty (DED).

In response to this, the former government commissioned two pieces of work. In 2008 researchers at the University of Bath and Bristol were asked to develop a basic data collection tool to help schools identify:

  • Whether a child has a disability – in line with the DDA definition
  • The nature of the child’s disability
  • The child’s support needs

This research concluded that disability cannot be identified without reference to impact and therefore requires data collection from both parents and children. A toolkit was designed that incorporates a national questionnaire for use with parents and a suite of five flexible tools for use with children. Details of the report can be found here.

A second piece of research carried out in 2010 further tested the validity of the data collected through revised versions of these tools and their use and usability in schools. Details of the report can be found here.




One-day workshop 3rd November 2011 "Safeguarding the Needs of Disabled Children" Event details

Research Reports

Testing of Disability Identification Tool for Schools. Full research report (2010).

acrobat iconDisability Data Collection for Children's Services.Full research report (2008)

acrobat iconDisability Data Collection for Children's Services.Research summary (2008)
Dr Jill Porter, University of Bath:


A DfCSF funded research project
Jill Porter, Harry Daniels, Jayne Hacker & Sue Martin, University of Bath
Anthony Feiler, University of Bristol
Jan Georgeson, University of Chichester