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This conference looked at the next steps for SEN provision in Northern Ireland.
It was an opportunity to discuss priorities for improving support, provision, and outcomes for children with SEN, as well as future pathways to employment and higher education.
Delegates also examined key issues and priorities for the Department of Education’s Independent Review of SEN, commissioned in light of a number of reports highlighting concern, including the Public Accounts Committee 2021 report and the Too Little, Too Late report by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.
The conference followed DE consultations on new draft SEN regulations, and on a new SEN Code of Practice. It will look at their aims to develop a more effective SEN framework and implementation.
Sessions in the agenda included:
- the SEN landscape and priorities going forward: with Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People
- support and provision: funding - provision within the classroom - workforce priorities - coordination between key stakeholders
- best practice: learning from other jurisdictions
- progression: improving outcomes and future pathways for students with SEN
- policy priorities post-review: with Richard Irwin, Director, Inclusion and Wellbeing, Department of Education; Mark McGuicken, Director of Disability and Older People, Department of Health; and Una Turbitt, Interim Director, Children and Young People Services, Education Authority
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside policy officials who attended from the Department for the Economy, NI; DfE; the NIAO; NICS; and The Education and Training Inspectorate.