Decisive action needed to stop education system failure of children with special educational needs, says Lyttle

Urgent and decisive action is needed to stop the education system failing children with special educational needs (SEN), Chris Lyttle MLA has said, after the Auditor General reiterated the Alliance Education spokesperson’s call for an urgent review of SEN.

A report by the Audit Office into progress made by the Department of Education and Education Authority (EA) on recommendations made by the Audit Office into how to improve the support provided to SEN children in mainstream schools found none of the recommendations had been fully implemented, with performance found to have deteriorated in some areas.

“Alliance has long called for a root and branch review of the Education Authority’s approach to SEN, after concerns were raised about its failure to assess and support those children with it,” said Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“I recognise the EA has undertaken an internal audit and made a number of recommendations for improvement. The Education Committee will continue to hold the EA to account on these failures and any improvement plan.

“But the Audit Office findings demonstrate the folly of the Education Minister’s decision to temporarily suspend work on the full independent review of the education system. The Minister must take this Audit Office report into account and now expedite delivery of the new SEN framework and code of practice, so we can stop the ongoing failure affecting children with SEN.”