Derry MLA Mark H Durkan
An announcement by Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, of £10 million for Special Educational Needs has been welcomed by Derry MLA Mark H Durkan.
Mr Durkan, the SDLP's health spokesperson, said the current framework was in “dire need” of an overhaul and the funding was a start in what is a “long road ahead.” The Foyle MLA said: “This is positive news, albeit long overdue. For too long special educational needs provision has been chronically underfunded.
“£10 million won’t bridge the existing gap but it is a stepping stone towards addressing the backlog in assessment and diagnosis as well as covering transport costs and further educational support provisions.
“With almost 80,000 children and young people across the North currently on the SEN register, it is vitally important that investment and SEN framework for learning is ahead of the curve - fit for purpose in the constantly changing world of education.
“It is clear that the current model is not fit for purpose - unfortunately, it has been the case for many parents that the continued difficulty in obtaining fitting and appropriate special educational support, has been to the detriment of their child’s learning and development. It is heartbreaking and, indeed, frustrating to hear of children struggling in a class of their peers without the additional support they require. The current system is crying out for long-overdue transformation and that can only happen when it is adequately resourced. I am hopeful that this funding will aid in the delivery of improved services here- no child should be left behind when it comes to education.”
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