Education Minister needs to prioritise and invest in special educational needs and disabilities, says Mathison, ahead of Assembly debate

The Education Minister needs to prioritise and invest in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), Alliance Education spokesperson Nick Mathison MLA has said, ahead of an Assembly debate the party is bringing on the matter.

Education Nick Mathison Special Educational Needs

The issue will be discussed tomorrow (Monday) and calls for the Assembly to commit to prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable children in society, noting the current system for supporting children with SEND has failed to deliver appropriate and timely support for pupils, parents and schools.
Strangford MLA Mr Mathison, Chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee, said transformation of SEND services is vital, but it is also essential there was no crisis in provision of places for the new academic year.
“Last week, I spoke during the Assembly debate on the Budget Bill to highlight the immediate need for proper resourcing and transformation of SEND services, especially when it comes to early identification of need, meaningful early intervention and a commitment to deliver education in line with best international practice,” he said.
“As Chair of the Education Committee, I have prioritised SEND provision in the Committee’s work – while focused work is underway to reform the system, parents should not have to feel like they are fighting a constant battle for their child to receive an education appropriate to their needs. Many parents are justifiably anxious after previous failures to get this right, and the Department and Education Authority must now do all they can to avoid the crises we have seen before.
“The Education Minister needs to ensure any additional money allocation received for SEND is delivered in order to prioritise the needs of pupils and invest in the workforce, so we are not seeing the sector in crisis come September and beyond.
“Alliance will continue to work with all to advocate for the provision SEND children need. I share the frustrations and concerns many have with the current system. We need urgent and radical change to make sure children can access the education provision they deserve.”