“The Education Authority must now officially publish these proposals to allow full and open consultation on them. It is my understanding these proposals are scheduled for public pre-publication consultation between April and June 2018, with the Education Authority then considering responses during the summer, and school development proposals then published for two-month public consultation in the autumn.
“It is vital therefore principals and parents are well informed about the full detail of these proposals and are given every opportunity to respond to them.
“As Alliance Education spokesperson and Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Learning Disability, I will be doing everything in my power to facilitate robust consultation on this matter and to ensure the voice of principals, practitioners and parents are clearly heard at the highest levels.
“The welfare and development of children must be the focus of any proposals and it is vital maximum support is made available to them.
“My colleague, Lord Mayor of Belfast Nuala McAllister, will also be speaking with parents and principals of special needs schools, given the serious concerns expressed around these proposed moves.”