Morning, Thursday, 7th December 2023
This conference will examine next steps for SEN provision in Northern Ireland.
It takes place following the publication of the Independent Review of Special Education Needs final report, commissioned by the Department of Education, which suggested that major reform is needed within Northern Ireland’s SEN system, and identified significant challenges for delivering early support due to pressures within the system.
Key stakeholders and policymakers will discuss priorities for improving service provision and educational outcomes, models for referral, and how the Education Authority’s area planning might be enhanced to improve access to services and sustainability.
Further sessions look at the Department of Education’s End-to-End Review of SEN Services, due in December, which will look to create a pathway for improving service provision in Northern Ireland.
The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss next steps following the wide-ranging Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland interim report, which identified SEN provision as a key focus area going into the final report stage expected by the end of the year.
We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Janis Scallon, Director of Inclusion, Department of Education; Amanda Hatton, Executive Director, Education and Children’s Services, The City of Edinburgh Council; and a senior speaker confirmed from the Education Authority.
Overall, areas for discussion include:
- policy priorities: assessing findings from the Independent Review of SEN - implementation of recommendations - funding priorities - managing increased demand for SEN services
- SEN provision in NI: improving area planning and access to services - adopting a child-centred approach - addressing unmet needs within the system
- workforce: addressing staff shortages, including within Educational Psychology Services - priorities for staff training and workforce development - CPD and developing SEN Support Hubs
- improving educational outcomes: providing effective pathways to FE and employment
- accountability: priorities for service quality and inspection - implications for regulation post-review of SEN and Education
- learning from best practice: considering lessons from other jurisdictions in creating an inclusive model of SEN provision in Northern Ireland
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Department for the Economy; Department of Education; Department of Finance; and NAO.