09 May 2018
EA Chief Executive Gavin Boyd writes to parents of children at Belfast Special Schools
As the first round of EA’s meetings with parents comes to an end, EA Chief Executive, Gavin Boyd has written to parents of children in special schools in Belfast to provide further reassurance that there is no predetermined outcome in relation to future investment in special schools in Belfast and that EA will continue to listen to their views.
19 April 2018
Special School Engagement Sessions
The Education Authority is currently running a series of engagement sessions for parents, staff and governors in special schools in Belfast. The purpose of these meetings is to talk about the need for investment in special schools in Belfast, set out how we will engage with parents and provide assurance that there will be no change to current provision without the full involvement of parents and a full and rigorous consultation process.
The schedule of meetings is listed below with further dates to be added.
Schedule of Engagement Meetings
13 April 2017
Belfast Special Schools Engagement
The Education Authority (EA) has started a series of engagements with parents, staff and governors on future investment in the special schools’ estate in Belfast.
Dr Clare Mangan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services said:
“This engagement is driven by serious concerns, identified by both EA and the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI), about the poor standard of some school buildings and the impact on children and staff.
Our objective, through this engagement is to identify opportunities to improve the quality of the learning environment in special schools in Belfast. EA anticipates that this process will take some time and will facilitate further opportunities for engagement.”
EA Chief Executive, Gavin Boyd added:
“At the conclusion of this process EA will bring forward development proposals. Any such proposals would be subject to a full consultation process. Parents should be assured that there will be no change to current provision in the immediate future.”
22 March 2018
Letter from Clare Mangan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services to Parents
EA’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Dr Clare Mangan has written a letter to parents of children in special schools in Belfast to provide assurances that they will be consulted on any proposals for reorganisation of special schools and that children currently attending special schools in Belfast will not be impacted.
The special schools have been asked to distribute the letter to parents today (22 March 2018)
Click here to view Letter to Parents
22 March 2018
James Curran, Principal of Parkview School and Chair of the Special Schools’ Strategic Leadership Group outlined the importance of addressing a number of issues currently faced by special schools in Belfast;
At a meeting of Special School Principals on Friday 16 March 2018, the Education Authority (EA) outlined proposals for the future of Special School Provision in the Greater Belfast area. We were informed that engagement with the Principals of the schools affected was already underway and that plans were in place for further consultation with parents, Boards of Governors and staff with meetings already scheduled for after the Easter break.
For a long time, there has been growing concern amongst Principals and Boards of Governors over the suitability of some of the current buildings to meet the needs of our pupils with additional needs. There is also increasing demand for places in our schools as the population of pupils who require extra support continues to rise. Many of our current special schools in Belfast and across Northern Ireland are operating above capacity.
As Principals, we would welcome significant capital investment in the special school estate in Belfast. I am aware of concerns raised over the proposed relocation of some schools, the potential impact on pupils and the need for extensive staff training.
This is the start of a long process. However, the clear focus is on creating special schools with outstanding facilities, where pupils will experience specialist teaching and support in schools that are closer to home.
The Strategic Leadership Group (Special Schools) looks forward to considering the proposals when they are published for consultation.