GEMMA BROLLY: Hundreds on Waiting Lists for Special Educational Needs Assessment
Aontú Rep for East Derry, Gemma Brolly, has raised serious concerns over the hundreds of children on waiting lists for Special Educational Needs Assessment and the detrimental effect of these protracted waiting times.
“Shocking statistics released to Aontú confirm that between 2017 and 2020 between 50 and 420 children monthly had been on the Educational Psychologist waiting list awaiting assessment for Special Educational Needs. Figures roll over on a monthly basis over a period of 25 months. In the first 4 months, 50 to 87 children were waiting, at 12 months between 100 and 300 children were waiting and at 9 months, 300 to 500 children were waiting to be assessed."
"Aontú also requested information regarding the longest and average waiting time for a child to see an Educational Psychologist over the last three years, to which Aontú were stunned to receive news that prior to September 2020 there was NO PROCESS IN PLACE TO RECORD THE INFORMATION REQUESTED. New protocols have now been introduced with information management systems being revised by the Educational Authority Improvement Team.”
“This of course falls in line with a number of the 40 recommendations made by the “Too Little, Too Late” Review by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. This ‘Rights based Review of Special Needs Provision in Mainstream Schools identifies the major concerns, dysfunctionalities and outright failings of the educational institutions. In particular the Department of Education and Educational Authority have failed in providing for children and young people with Special Educational Needs . In reality, charitable organisations, parental support networks and private educational services are bursting at the seams with parents in desperation to access whatever help they can in order to find adequate provision and facilitate the needs of their children.”
“In Aontú we believe that every child has the right to an education ‘which must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full’ in accordance with the United Nations Charter for Rights of Children. The education system is no longer fit for purpose – we have established the failings of our overstretched classroom system before Covid. Urgent attention must now be given to transformation of our education system in accordance with the recommendations of recent reviews and reports but more importantly, to provide a fair and efficient education system for ALL our children."
“Aontú will continue to demand immediate action on an education system for ALL, an education system where every child is valued and cherished.”