Education Authority approach to SEN nursery provision unacceptable, says Lyttle

East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said it is unacceptable the Education Authority has yet to meaningfully consult with families affected by the proposed reduction of special educational needs nursery hours.

The Education Authority proposed in March this year to half the current five-hour daily provision as of September 2016 but further to public pressure the then-Education Minister John O’Dowd requested a review of this decision. It is understood despite this request, the first stage of this review has been completed without public consultation.

Mr Lyttle, who has invited the Parents for Equal Education Coalition to the Education Committee at Stormont next week in his role as Vice-Chair, said the new Education Minister must make it a priority task to ensure the Authority suspend this process and conduct a full consultation on the matter.

“I have spoken to many schools and families who are opposed to a reduction in SEN nursery provision,” he said.

“The former Education Minister made a clear call for full and open engagement on this matter and it is unacceptable the Education Authority has yet to listen to the views of parents of children with special educational needs.

“The Authority must suspend its proposed reduction of SEN nursery provision and facilitate proper and urgent consultation with the many families opposed to this approach.

“Access to early years provision is vitally important to families and children living with special educational needs, and we must ensure we meet those needs.”

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