New legislation must be not be undermined by school budgets: Bell

ALLIANCE Deputy Leader Eileen Bell MLA (North Down) has welcomed new legal protection that will remove discrimination against children with disabilities in schools and colleges.

Mrs Bell said: “I very much welcome this positive move, which, while late, will ensure that many disabled children will now be educated in mainstream schools. I believe that this will benefit many disabled children as they are put on a more equal footing, but it will also mean that able-bodied children and disabled children will be able to mix more easily.

“My only concern is that while the Government may be committed to changing the law, it remains to be seen if it can meet the increased costs to schools to upgrade their facilities to cater for pupils with particular needs and to supply more classroom assistants or specialist staff.

“Schools and colleges are already under severe pressure thanks to recent changes in budget allocation, and without increases in funding to carry out maintenance and upgrades, the Government risks undermining its own legislation.”

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