McCrossan: Minister needs to get a grip on Special Education

McCrossan: Minister needs to get a grip on Special Education

SDLP Education Spokesperson, Daniel McCrossan has said the rate of successful Special Educational Needs (SEN) appeals are a complete disgrace and urged Minister Weir to get a grip of the situation.

Mr McCrossan was speaking today as the Education Committee uncovered the fact that in 2018/2019, 97% of SEN appeals were successful.

The West Tyrone MLA said:

“I have been aware for quite some time that the SEN process in our schools needs to be overhauled as it is not fit for purpose. However, I was astounded to learn that in 2018/19 97% of SEN appeals had a successful outcome. This is a startling figure but behind the statistic is children and their families in anguish, battling for fairness in a system that is completely broken.”

“Children with special educational needs and their families are being put through an appalling process, led by the Education Authority. While frontline education staff are working hard, the system is flawed and is failing children day and daily.”

“It is also deeply concerning that Minister for Education, Peter Weir appears not to have seen fit to act on these appalling figures. It is not that he is unaware of the concerns around SEN as I have raised these issues with the Minister repeatedly. His apparent lack of action is bizarre at best and at worst disgraceful. He must get a grip of this spiralling problem and urgently commission a root and branch review of SEN.”

“These latest statistics are even more evidence, if it were ever needed, that we need an overhaul of how we support young people with special educational needs and we must build a system that supports these children and their families.”

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