23/06/2022

No School Places For 300 Children With Special Educational Needs

Sinn Féin has called on the Education Minister and the Education Authority (EA) to ensure children with special educational needs and their families have certainty over school places for September.

MLA Pat Sheehan made the call after a report revealed that 300 children with special educational needs are without a school place for September. He described the report as "deeply concerning".

He said: "Given the yearly increase in the number of children with special educational needs, the education minister should have prepared and planned for this eventuality.

"These children and their families need certainty on what arrangements will be in place come September, and I would urge the education minister and the Education Authority to work to address this issue.
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"This is why we need an Executive up and running and Ministers in place so that we can invest in education services and ensure young people get the support that they need.

"The DUP needs to end its boycott and join with the rest of us who want to make politics work and deliver first class public services."

Alliance Education spokesperson Connie Egan MLA said: "The Assembly's Public Accounts Committee report on its review of SEN stated children and their families had been failed for many years by the EA. It is clear lessons have not been learnt on this issue and once again, communication from the EA to children and their families has been incredibly poor.

"Alliance has long called for a root and branch review into the EA’s approach to SEN. However, this matter needs addressed and addressed now. The Education Minister must intervene immediately to ensure all children have a school place in September.

"Children with SEN should be a priority for the Department of Education and EA. Instead of being left behind yet again, we need to support these pupils so their needs are met."

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