The Education Authority (EA) has today published for consultation, a new framework designed to transform support services for children with special educational needs in the early years.
At a meeting in Clifton School in Bangor, EA Chief Executive, Gavin Boyd thanked special school Principals for their support throughout the process to date and said;
“Every child has unique abilities and needs. In developing services for very young children with special needs, we want to ensure that they are supported to deal with additional challenges in life and in school. We want them to be the best that they can be.
This new framework considers the range of needs children may have and aims to ensure that there are options available that meet those needs. We want to transform how we deliver early years SEN services. We have listened very carefully to a wide range of stakeholders to develop proposals that are child centred, flexible, and inclusive which also consider the needs and the role of the parents.
I would like to thank everyone who has worked with us, provided views and contributed to the development of this framework. I encourage everyone with an interest in, or knowledge of special education to take part in our consultation. Your views are essential as we continue to transform education provision for young children with SEN.”
Dr Clare Mangan, EA’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services added;
“We are delighted to be launching this framework for consultation today. Since beginning the Strategic Review of Nursery Provision in Special School in October 2016, we have listened carefully to parents, young people, special school principals and many partners in health, education and in the voluntary sector.
These proposals have been designed not only to look at nursery provision in special schools but to consider the wider needs of children with SEN from birth. We recognise that clear information, communication and support for parents must also be at the heart of all services for children with special needs. We want to ensure that we work closely with others and make the best use of the resources available.
Our plans set out how we would like to provide more choices for children through additional and extended support in mainstream schools and the creation of new Early Years’ SEN Centres with more opportunities for inclusion.
One of our key priorities is also to ensure that every child who requires a pre-school place in a special school can get one. We want all special school nurseries to provide a minimum of 15 hours per week for children with the most complex needs and we want to ensure that schools have the right staff to support the diverse and changing needs of the children.
I look forward to receiving the consultation responses and to continuing to work with key partners in education and health to transform how we deliver important services for children in the early years with special needs.”
Details of the proposals are available on the EA website at www.eani.org.uk/SENearlyyears in a variety of formats. The consultation closes on 24 May.
You can call EA on (028) 7186 4781, email SEN.firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Early Years SEN Framework, Maydown House, 1 Maydown Road, Derry/Londonderry BT47 6UF.