Public Consultation on the Draft Special Schools Area Planning Framework

The Education Authority (EA) is seeking your views on the Draft Special Schools Area Planning Framework which advocates a consistent model across all areas of Northern Ireland that would see all special schools provide 3-19 provision in the same school.

This consultation is
Closing date





Alongside the growth in special school numbers there is an emerging trend relating to an increase in the complexity of pupil need and the profile of pupils requiring a special school placement. The presence of more than one type of assessed need can present a range of challenges, which have placed an increased pressure on the staff and accommodation within special schools. In seeking to provide a greater level of consistency across the region, the EA wants to improve pupil outcomes, ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet demand for places and work with health and social care trusts to ensure there is an integrated and tiered model of support for our children and young people with special educational needs.

As part of the Ministerial led Review of Special School Provision (2015), the recommendations, including Special Schools 3-19, educating children in their closest school, are the cornerstone of our work as the EA seeks to reshape special school provision within a regionally consistent framework to meet the changing needs of our children and young people with special educational needs.

By having provision which is flexible and consistent in the education and interventions offered, the EA wants to provide pupils with equitable access to excellent provision with a highly skilled and diverse workforce across all areas of Northern Ireland. 

In addition, the Draft Special Schools Area Planning Framework will be used to inform a review of the current actions for special schools within the Area Planning Annual Action Plan. The framework will also inform future area planning priorities.

The EA is seeking your views as part of this consultation and you will find the relevant documents associated with the consultation, including the consultation response questionnaire below.

Please note this consultation is open from 9am on Friday 16 October 2020 and closes at 5pm on Monday 12 April 2021.

Should you be unable to respond online, the Consultation Questionnaire is available upon request using the email address -

Consultation Events

EA will be undertaking a series of consultation events, details of which are below.  To register to attend one of these events please forward an email to the following addresses to register your preferred date:

Draft Special Schools Area Planning Framework

  • Wednesday 11 November 2020 – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Tuesday 1 December 2020 – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Monday 11 January 2021 at 7:00 pm to 9:00pm

  • Thursday 21 January 2021 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (POSTPONED)

  • Friday 12 March 2021 at 10:00am - 12:00pm

Register with your preferred date to:

Please include details of any questions you would like answered during the event. 

Last updated 26/04/2021