Lyttle seeks urgent explanation about special needs school provision

East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle has sought an urgent explanation as to why the provision for children in special needs schools is being reduced.

The move by the Education Authority, which is due to begin in September, will see nursery and pre-school children attending school for 2.5 hours a day as opposed to the current 4.5 hours a day.

Last week, Mr Lyttle submitted a priority written question to Education Minister John O’Dowd quizzing him on the decision, as well as asking him to clarify how it was explained to schools and families impacted by it.

“Any move to reduce the provision for special needs children is a concerning one, particularly as it was only discovered via a letter to a parent. The needs of pupils needs to be at the heart of our education system.

“Access to early years educational support is extremely important to families and children living with special educational needs. Therefore I asked the Education Minister to detail the rationale for the Education Authority decision and how it was communicated to those affected.

“I know there are resourcing problems throughout the sector but I would encourage the Minister to respond promptly to this request and in addition, ensure the appropriate amount of hours are given for special needs provision in our schools.”

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