The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (NICCY) has published its review of Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision in the country. The report, titled “Too Little, Too Late” , sets out the findings of a rights based review of SEN provision in mainstream schools in Northern Ireland, that took place over 18 months. The NICCY found “significant flaws” in the system, meaning that many young people and children face barriers in accessing support and services. They found that the system is “under extreme pressure” and is consequently unable to deal with either the “scale of need” or the “complexity of issues” that many children present. The review also highlighted the “frustrations” of parents and professionals with an education system which has “consistently demonstrated an inability to prioritise and respect” their views.
The review sets out 40 recommendations to address these weaknesses in the education system. While some of these refer to specific Departments or agencies, the NICCY finds that “a system wide response” will be needed to address the issues. Recommendations 23-25 specifically mention the role of Educational Psychology services and the need for the Education Authority and Department of Education to “review and systematically revise” its model for enabling access to such services.
Read the full report here.