Trevor Lunn MLA said: “Alliance believes that the child should be at the heart of education provision. This bill is a welcome development.
“The reduction in the statementing timeframe, from 26 weeks to 20 weeks is particularly welcome. Everyone wants this process to be quicker and it is important that, following this change, we monitor the actual time taken to ensure that 20 weeks becomes a limit and not the standard.
“There are also a number of proposals to ensure the child’s particular needs are taken into account, such as the requirement for the Authority to listen to the views of the child.
“I also support the proposal for each school to have a learning support co-ordinator in their teaching staff. Such a responsibility should help build up expertise. However, I am concerned that in some schools with very small or very large numbers of SEN pupils, this may take away from teaching time and I will be asking the Minister to look at what support can be built in in these cases.”