The Education Authority (EA) has today commenced engagement on a strategic review of nursery provision for children with special educational needs who require a place in a specialist setting.
EA has a duty to ensure that all children who require special school placements can access them. The aim of this review is to develop a model of high quality nursery education to meet the needs of all pre-school children who require a specialist setting.
Addressing the special school principals at a meeting in Parkview Special School in Lisburn today, EA Chief Executive Gavin Boyd said;
“It is vital that we do everything in our power to ensure that children across Northern Ireland have consistent access to high quality, fit for purpose education close to where they live. For children with learning difficulties who require additional support, our key focus must always be on the needs of the children and how we can best meet those needs.
The first part of the review process is entirely focused on the views of those who know these children best. This includes their parents, teachers, principals and the staff who support them in school and at home every day.
Over the next few weeks, we will be running a wide scale engagement exercise where we will actively seek involvement from parents, key stakeholders in the education sector, health and other advocacy bodies with an interest in this work. This will inform the development a draft framework which will shape the strategic direction of special education nursery provision across Northern Ireland.
The draft framework will be subject to full public consultation with a view to implementation of a new model of delivery commencing in September 2017 with full implementation by September 2018.”
EA Chairperson, Sharon O’Connor added;
“This is a positive step towards ensuring that the special education provision for nursery age children is developed with full consideration of the views of the widest possible range of stakeholders.
We want to be innovative and forward looking in our approach and we are seeking to provide the best possible support for children with special educational needs.
Your views are valuable and we want to hear them. Whilst the engagement process is targeted at key stakeholder groups at this stage, a public consultation will begin in January where we would welcome the views of everyone who has an interest in this work.
The targeted engagement sessions will run from October to December 2016 with full public consultation commencing in January 2017.