Friday, 22 January 2010

Special educational needs

ONE could be forgiven for thinking that our politicians need teaching assistants to help them get through the day without forgetting their manners, but they have highly paid spouses…sorry advisers and researchers for the Special Political Needs job.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that education was the scene of more in-fighting. Errrr, perhaps that sentence reads all wrong…we meant to say unremarkable. For one can always be sure of a couple of things in Parliament Buildings: one, that the green orange divide will crop up in policing and justice; and, two that there will be a row about education.

The Special Educational Needs and Inclusion review changes have been out to consultation forever.

The period has been extended for so long that the children it concerns will be planning leaving school and needing support in the community before the MLAs and the Department of Education agree a thing.

This latest round of ‘issues’ saw the Education Committee hear representations from various groupings on what is good and what is bad about the review.

In summary, the Education Minister and ‘experts’ from the Department believe their view is best. One half of the Education committee is dubious. Many parents and parents’ groups think the department is wrong. Remind you of another education debate?

It can only be hoped that all sides of the debate get their act together and work to support and protect this particularly vulnerable group of children.

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