Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


20 January 2010

EDU 04/09/10


The proposals for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Inclusion were under scrutiny today at an event organised by the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education.

Speaking just before the event Committee Chairperson, Mervyn Storey MLA, said: “The proposed policy changes to Special Educational Needs have created major concerns and anxieties for parents, teachers and organisations representing children with disabilities.

“The Committee has invited the Department of Education to attend the event and explain its proposals and clarify issues causing very real worries for parents and representative organisations.”

The Department of Education is due to present its proposals and take questions from specialist panels of stakeholders. Invited guests will also be given the opportunity to ask specific questions about the impact of the proposed changes in an attempt to clarify what the proposed changes at policy level will actually mean at a practical level for children and parents.

“In the midst of so many unanswered questions, it is important to remember that this is about vulnerable children and their future.”

The Committee has already heard from a wide range of stakeholders who have voiced serious concerns regarding these proposals. As a result, the Committee called on the Minister to extend the consultation period and welcomed her decision to do so. It was stressed that concerned parents and organisations representing children should submit their response to the consultation by the deadline of 31 January 2010 - if they have not already done so.


Notes to Editors

The Chair, Mr Mervyn Storey MLA, is available for interview by request. Please see media contact information below.

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 Jonathan Craig MLA
Mr Basil McCrea MLA
Miss Michelle McIlveen MLA
Mr John O’Dowd MLA
Ms Michelle O’Neill MLA
Mr Alastair Ross MLA

Organisations who have given evidence to the Committee for Education on Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Inclusion proposals include:

Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NASUWT, ATL, INTO, UTU, NAHT)

Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance: including, Children in Northern Ireland; Special Education Needs Advisory Centre; Children’s Law Centre; National Deaf Children’s Society; and Mencap

The Clerk to the Committee is John Simmons
Committee for Education,
Rm 242, Parliament Buildings,
Belfast BT4 3XX
Tel: 028 9052 1787
Mob: 07900 053929
Fax: 028 9052 1371

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

Jennifer Pleavin
Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 1606
Mobile : 07502 379339

Stephanie Mallon
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 1953
Mobile : 07825 146794