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01/12/2011

Irish Language 'Special Needs' In Focus

There has been high-level encouragement for continuing work on teaching special needs in the Irish medium.

At a conference on special educational needs this week, partnerships across all sectors were hailed as being central to meeting the needs of all children with special needs.

This was the key message from John O'Dowd, the NI Executive Education Minister, at a seminar in Newry run by the POBAL, the advocacy organisation for the Irish language sector.

The seminar was attended by education sector representatives from across the whole of Ireland.

Speaking at the event the Sinn Fein Minister said: "All our children and young people deserve a first-class education system. Children identified with special educational needs (SEN) deserve support and the right provision.

"Over the past 30 years the Irish medium sector here has transformed into a vibrant, dynamic and integral part of our education system.

"I was encouraged to learn that research has all pointed towards the same needs and priorities of the Irish medium sector in relation to training and SEN. Meeting the needs of children with SEN is as pertinent as in any other sector," he said.

"North-south cooperation in improving provision for children with SEN is a high priority for both me and my Department. In fact SEN continues to be one of the four areas of cooperation agreed by the North South Ministerial Council.

"I want to commend POBAL in their determination to ensure that children with special educational needs are not disadvantaged when choosing to learn through Irish.

"I know the focus of this seminar is to raise the awareness of the support and resources available to those in the Irish medium sector."

(BMcC/GK)

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