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25 November 2009
EDU 01/09/10


Children with special educational needs were top of the agenda again today as the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education met the NI Teachers’ Council to hear concerns about the Department of Education’s proposals for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Inclusion.

Committee Chairperson, Mervyn Storey MLA, said: “The concerns raised today add further weight to those raised by other stakeholders about some of the Department’s proposals for SEN & Inclusion. Theprofessional perspective of the Teachers’ Council will help inform the Committee’s scrutiny of these proposals.”

In light of stakeholders’ concerns, the Committee asked the Minister to extend the deadline for responses to her proposals. The Minister subsequently announced a month’s extension and responses must now reach the Department by 30 November.

The Committee heard from representatives of the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance two weeks ago about their Members’ serious concerns regarding these proposals.

Mervyn Storey went on to say: “There is concern amongst teachers, parents and the public about this Review of SEN. I welcome the Minister’s decision to extend the consultation period on her Department’s proposals and hope that it indicates a willingness to take on board the concerns of parents and professionals living and working with children with Special Educational Needs."


Notes to Editors

The Committee for Education met in Parliament Buildings at 2.00 pm on Wednesday, 25 November, 2009.

The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr Mervyn Storey MLA
The Deputy Chairperson is Mr Dominic Bradley MLA

The Committee has a further nine members:

Mrs Mary Bradley MLA
Mr Trevor Lunn MLA
Mr John McCallister MLA
Mr Jonathon Craig MLA
Mr Basil McCrea MLA
Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA
Mr John O’Dowd MLA
Ms Michelle O’Neill MLA
Mr Alastair Ross MLA

On 25 November 2009 the Committee is scheduled to meet with representatives from the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council;

Mr Seamus Searson , NASUWT
Mr Mark Langhammer , ATL
Mr Kevin Smyth, INTO
Ms Audrey Stewart, UTU, and
Ms Fern Turner, NAHT

On 11 November 2009 the Committee met with representatives of the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance:

Elaine Conway, Children in Northern Ireland;
Heather Larkin, Special Education Needs Advisory Service;
Rachel Hogan, Children’s Law Centre;
Alan Sheeran, National Deaf Children’s Society; and
Pascal McKeown, Mencap

The Clerk to the Committee is:

Mr. John Simmons
Clerk, Committee for Education
Rm 242, Parliament Buildings
Belfast BT4 3XX
Tel: 02890521787
Mob: 07900053929
Fax: 02890521371

For further information, or to arrange an interview or photo opportunity, please contact:

Jennifer Pleavin
Communications Office,
Room B4, Parliament Buildings
Belfast BT4 3XX
Tel: 028 905 21953
Fax: 028 905 21946
Website Address –
Email –