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Education Minister welcomes Experts on Autism to Stormont

11 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, welcomed Education officials from across Britain and Ireland to a special reception in Parliament Buildings.

Delegates from England, Scotland and Wales joined inspectors and policy advisers from the North and South of Ireland to the 'Autism Stocktake Conference' to consider autism provision across the education sector.

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said:

''Conferences such as these are invaluable in helping professionals to share and build on the good practice that is already been carried out in schools for young people with autism.

"I have visited a number of schools with specialised autism provision and I am impressed with the work being carried out. I firmly believe all children are entitled to a quality education, one in which they are able to develop their full potential by learning in a supportive environment.

"In order to provide this education we must explore ways of working together across departments, sectors and national boundaries. An excellent example of this is the centre at Middletown which has been jointly funded by the Department of Education here in the North of Ireland and our counterparts in the South, the Department of Education and Science.

"Senior Management from Middletown are currently consulting with all those involved with children and young people with autism, across Ireland, to ensure how proposed services can best be delivered at the Centre.

"I am sure that this conference will enable us to further identify ways in which we are able to work together to provide our most vulnerable children with the quality education they deserve." ENDS


The 'Autism Stocktake Conference' will run from the 10-11 March at the Stormont Hotel.

The conference has been organised by the Education and Training Inspectorate and the Department of Education to consider common strategic approaches in respect of autism across Britain and Ireland, and to help inform the development of an autism strategic plan for the North of Ireland.

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