Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

'One size fits all' cannot work in the Special Educational Needs process.

Published: 4 October, 2014

With the revelation of the number of children requiring statements of special educational need (SEN) has spiraled in the past five years, Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch has expressed concern at the stage at which the Education & Library Boards get involved.

Mr Lynch, MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone explains;

"There has been an increase of over 33% of pupils requiring a statement of Special Educational Need since 2009/10. A five-staged approach is used in identifying and catering for a child's special needs and the majority of children are on stages 1-4.

"However, Stage 4 is the first education board based stage in which a statutory assessment is the focus. Only Stage 5 involves the issuing of a statement, which involves the board either making additional resources available or indicating that a change of placement may be necessary for the child."

"This can be quite a sensitive and worrying time for all involved, from the children, to the parents to the teachers in the school. Therefore I am questioning if the Education and Library Boards should get involved sooner."

"I am not questioning the ability or the integrity of the teachers concerned to deal with the case. But if the Education and Library Boards got involved at an earlier stage, it would make the process more personal, rather than a generalised procedure."

"No two cases are the same and with the ELBs getting involved at such a late stage, I feel they may be trying a 'one size fits all' which undoubtedly cannot work here."

"Every child is unique and should be looked upon as such when determining their needs in ensuring that they can maximise their potential through education."