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Department of Education seeking views on Special Educational Needs Regulations

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The Department of Education is seeking views on draft Special Educational Needs Regulations.

The draft Regulations are a key element in developing a strengthened special educational needs framework and follow the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill which passed through the Assembly at the end of January 2016.

The framework has four elements: the Bill, new Regulations, a new Code of Practice and training for school staff and Boards of Governors. The consultation period runs from the 22 February to the 16 May 2016. It is hoped the Regulations can be laid before the Assembly in the Autumn.

Speaking as the consultation launches, Education Minister John O’ Dowd said: “I believe that every school should have an inclusive ethos; that early and timely intervention is key; and that schools and teachers need training to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of their students with special educational needs. Providing transparency, accountability and reduced bureaucracy will ensure that everyone has confidence in a more responsive and effective framework of support for children with special educational needs.”

The draft Regulations set out the responsibilities on the Boards of Governors of grant aided schools and the Education Authority, working with Health and Social Care Trusts, to ensure the best support is provided as quickly as possible to children. They set out a range of areas where it is proposed to reduce timescales to support the achievement of an overall reduction from 26 to 20 weeks for a statement to be completed.

The consultation document is available to download from the Department’s websiteexternal link or by contacting the Department on 028 9185 8279

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