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Every School A Good School – The way forward for Special Educational Needs and Inclusion

10 August, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Sinn Féin Education Minster, Caitríona Ruane, has launched a 12 week consultation on the Department of Education’s Review of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion.

In opening the much awaited consultation the Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, said:

“Over 18% of our school population has a special educational need and up to one in four experiences greater difficulties in learning and progressing than their peers. These policy proposals aim to both strengthen the current provision for our children with special educational needs and address the growing diversity of need in our schools. Raising standards for all children is at the heart of all my Department’s policies.”

The Minister further said:

“I want to establish a robust and accountable framework that identifies children’s learning needs as early as possible and provides support for them. Therefore, set in an overarching inclusive framework aimed at raising educational outcomes, the key themes of the proposals are: a continuum of provision for a diversity of need; early identification and intervention; capacity building in schools; consistency of provision; improved multi-disciplinary and inter-agency working; and sharing of expertise to spread best practice.”

“I look forward to receiving views and comments on the proposals from parents, pupils, professionals and others with an interest in this vitally important area.”

Note to Editors

  1. The Department has undertaken a Review of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion to address a range of issues associated with the current special educational
    needs framework. These included inconsistencies and delays in identification, assessment and provision, growing numbers of statemented children and the
    bureaucracy attached to the current arrangements.
  2. Throughout the policy development phase the review team engaged with a wide range of key stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sector, parents and
    children and young people. In addition three advisory groups were established consisting of key stakeholders from all phases and sectors in education and also
    included representation from the health and social care sector. This extensive pre-consultation activity contributed to the draft policy proposals through the provision
    of many positive suggestions and ideas about the ways the current support framework for children with SEN could be improved.
  3. The public consultation process will run until 31 October 2009.
  4. Copies of the consultation and response documents, a children’s version and the EQIA document are available at
  5. On-line responses can be forwarded to: [email protected]
  6. Paper responses can also be posted direct to the Review of SEN and Inclusion Team, Room G18, Department of Education, Rathgael House, Balloo Road, Bangor,
    BT19 7PR.

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