Over 1.6 million pupils under the age of 11 have special needs
, according to new figures released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
This is an increase of 178,000 over the last five years, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The increase can partly be explained by a greater awareness of some special needs conditions.
However, a leading teacher warned that mainstream schools could struggle to cope in carrying the administration burden as a result of dealing with special needs children.
Malcolm Trobe, policy director of the Association of Teachers, told the newspaper: "Parents are more aware that they can get extra support for their son or daughter if they are designated as having special needs."
He explained that the designation process could be "time-consuming".
The government sent a letter to headteachers earlier this year stating the importance of ensuring children with special needs were not bullied at school.