The Education Authority has undertaken consultation on the draft Special Education Strategic Area Plan which closed on 12 April 2022. The final draft Plan is currently being prepared to be submitted to the Department of Education for launch in June 2022.
The Education Authority is taking forward an Area Planning strategic vision for special education, to ensure that our children and young people have access to flexible and agile provision throughout their educational journey appropriate to their needs. The first step to achieve this vision is Michelle McIlveen’s, Minister of Education’s, endorsement of the EA’s SEN Frameworks.
These SEN Frameworks are high-level, strategic, regional documents and are part of the Education Authority’s wider Area Planning strategy. The Frameworks are the overarching documents which will inform a five year Special Education Strategic Area Plan (SESAP) 2022-27 for both specialist provision in mainstream schools and special schools. The Special Education Strategic Area Plan 2022-27 will be accompanied by two, two-year Operational Plans that will be published, also, with the first operational plan running from September 2022 to August 2024.
In advance of the Annual Plan of Arrangements (APA), which underpins the new process for effecting change for Specialist Provision in Mainstream Schools, an interim arrangement is required to ‘bridge the gap’. The Minister has, therefore, agreed in principle, to a further pilot (Pilot 2) to help ensure that pupils with SEN have the places they require, in the right place and at the right time. The EA will work with DE over the coming weeks to finalise the Pilot 2 mandate, consistent with the Frameworks, before seeking final Ministerial approval to the commencement of this new Pilot 2 exercise.
The EA will continue to work together with school communities and other stakeholders to ensure the best possible education for our children and young people, as it is through working together that we can ‘Inspire, support and challenge all our children and young people to be the best that they can be’.