Maskey calls on Education Authority to put Special Education Needs Consultation Process on hold
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has called on the Education Authority to put on hold the consultation process on special education needs until they engage fully with the schools, parents, pupils and all stakeholders.
The West Belfast MP said:
“Sinn Féin has been meeting concerned parents of children who attend special needs education schools in Belfast.
“Last week it emerged in the media that the Education Authority are planning a consultation process on the future of Special Education needs and schools.
“I want to state quite clearly that the Education Authority has handled this very poorly to date.
“This is no way to conduct business, with parents, schools and pupils finding out about plans for consultation through the media.
“The parents we have met are very angry this has happened, and rightly so.
“Sinn Féin has requested a meeting with all the schools impacted upon by these so called plans.
“Alex Maskey MLA, Pat Sheehan MLA, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA and I met this morning with one of the schools and had the privilege to meet with the staff and pupils.
“Some of the pupils we met have severe to profound learning difficulties and the staff are working tirelessly with them. They should not have to be worried about the future and the mishandling of these plans to date.
"It is clear these proposals have come out of the blue and the school we met today are very worried about it.
“The school wants a first-class education and first-class facilities for their pupils.
“I have raised this with the Permanent Secretary of the Education Department.
“Sinn Féin has also requested a meeting with the Education Authority.
“I am now calling on the Education Authority to call a halt to this consultation process until they engage fully with the schools, parents, pupils and all stakeholders.
“They need to rebuild confidence and trust with them before they begin any meaningful consultation.
“I want to see first-class outcomes for special needs education and currently I do not have the faith or confidence in the process at this point.”