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Critical children are given support at school, says Lyttle

It is critical children are given the support they are entitled to at school, Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said.

Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee, was speaking as the Assembly backed an amendment the East Belfast MLA seconded, calling on the Minister of Education to introduce mandatory autism training for all trainee teachers, teachers and classroom assistants here.  

“We all want our young people to have the best possible start in life they can, along with the best educational outcomes. No child with autism should miss out because of their condition,” he said.

“I am aware of the pressures teachers face on this issue, due to many factors including a lack of training and resources they are given to teach autistic children. But it is vital children here diagnosed with autism are given the support they are entitled to at school, especially as Northern Ireland is lagging behind provision in other parts of the UK.

“This amendment presented an opportunity to ensure not only teachers but all teaching staff are properly equipped to support pupils.

“One of the biggest challenges facing the education system is making sure the benefits of a quality education are available to everyone and everyone is given the same opportunity to succeed. Mandatory autism training for all trainee teachers, teachers and classroom assistants is a crucial part of that.”