Special Educational Needs General Information

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 will reform how children with Special Educational Needs are identified and supported.

Who should I talk to if I have concerns about my child’s progress?

If you are worried about your child’s progress, contact the child’s school and make an appointment to meet with the child’s teacher to discuss your concerns. At this meeting the school will listen to your concerns, provide an update on the child’s progress and outline any efforts they have made to help. In the interests of your child, it is important that you, as parents, work in partnership with school and other agencies. 

What kind of help is available for my child?

Depending on your child’s difficulties, a range of support services can be made available.

Your child’s teacher is responsible for meeting the needs of all pupils in their class.  Teachers use a wide variety of activities to support pupils’ learning. This can include different teaching styles, differentiation, group work and access to individual support. All schools have the resources to meet the vast majority of special educational needs experienced by pupils.

All children who have an identified special educational need will be placed on the school’s Special Educational Needs register. 

The following information relates to children in school. Click here for information on the process for pre-school children.

If your child does not make progress over time, the school will follow the various stages set out in the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (SEN). 

Supplement to the Code of Practice is also to be followed by schools.

Advice on addressing concerns at the school based stages of the Code of Practice can be found below.

Addressing Concerns at the School Based Stages of the Code of Practice

In the vast majority of cases schools, parents and the Education Authority work together to resolve issues and difficulties around identifying and meeting the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs.  However, it is recognised that difficulties can arise on occasion.

If there is a disagreement between parents and school in relation to a child on the school’s Special Educational Needs Register, you may wish to consider in the first instance, arranging a meeting with your child’s teacher, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or getting in touch with the Principal.

If after taking these steps you are still not satisfied, please write to the Chair of the Board of Governors. In the unlikely event that the matter remains unresolved you may wish to consider getting in touch with the Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS).

Last updated: 20/01/2021