Pupils with special educational needs must be treated fairly – Kelly
Sinn Fein MLA and spokesperson for Children and Young People Catherine Kelly MLA has said that children with special educational needs attending mainstream schools must be treated fairly and any disciplinary action fully explained and registered.
Speaking the West Tyrone MLA said:
“Today Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma highlighted concerns to the Education Committee around special educational needs in mainstream schools, and in particular the lack of understanding of these needs and inadequate explanations for disciplinary action.
“It is concerning that many mainstream schools fail to appropriately support and cater for those with special educational needs.
“The practice of imposing exclusions and suspensions on children with special educational needs attending mainstream schools without any formal system of registering explanations is totally unacceptable.
“The exclusion of pupils with special educational needs from education, whether permanent or temporary, has a detrimental impact on their academic development and must be a last resort.
“It is also unacceptable for some school principals to simply cite a lack of resources for not adequately registering explanations for disciplinary action.
“I am calling on the Department of Education to investigate the frequency of these ‘informal’ measures and to introduce a formal register, as well as appropriated oversight and a mechanism to allow parents to appeal any decision to deny or limit access to education for their child.”