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Education Minister must give urgent update on support services for special educational needs children, says Lyttle

The Education Minister must give an urgent update on what support services are in place for children with special educational needs (SEN) while special schools remain closed due to the coronavirus crisis, Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said.

Mr Lyttle has written to Peter Weir requesting he make an urgent oral statement to the Assembly this week outlining support mechanisms for SEN pupils. He said it was incumbent on Peter Weir, alongside Health Minister Robin Swann, to set out what their respective Departments had done on the issue during the crisis.

“The Executive’s Coronavirus Recovery Plan’s education section says support services are in place for children with SEN, however, it is unacceptably clear this is not the experience of families across Northern Ireland,” said Mr Lyttle.

“Prior to the crisis, SEN pupils and their families had felt the system let them down. That feeling has increased thanks to the pandemic and the lack of support they have received.

"It is now incumbent on the Education and Health Ministers to give an urgent oral statement to the Assembly to set out what their Departments, the Education Authority and health and social care trusts have done to support provision for families and SEN children during the crisis, and to do so urgently.”