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(UK) NI: 20% of students have SPED needs; YET ANOTHER critical report

Dec 9, 2020, BBC News: (NI) Special needs education: 'Unacceptable delays' in school support https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-55237761 Principals of Catholic schools have criticised "inappropriate and unacceptable delays" in getting support for children with special educational needs (SEN). That is a key finding from a Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) report. It said "little progress" had been made in addressing many problems for schools and pupils. There are about 67,000 children with SEN in Northern Ireland's schools. That is about one-fifth of the school population. Of those children, 19,000 have a statement detailing the extra help they need in school. ... There have been a number of critical reports in recent years into failures to provide adequate support for pupils with SEN. The CCMS report said recommendations to improve provision for SEN "have been made time and time again by researchers, by education authorities, through government reviews and by our own school professionals".... • A lack of sufficient funding to meet the needs of all children with SEN... • "Limitations and the bureaucracy of the statementing process and the negative impact this has on access to resources." The report said early identification of a child's needs and providing appropriate support could make "a vast difference to a child's educational outcomes and life chances". "Across the board, principals reported inappropriate and unacceptable delays in accessing assessment and diagnosis by an educational psychologist as well as intervention from external agencies," CCMS said. "Some children do not undergo formal assessment by an educational psychologist as soon as required; leaving schools trying to meet their needs without the necessary support and resource from external services." The CCMS report includes more than 30 recommendations for improvement in providing help for pupils with SEN....