Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs First Report


9. For the purposes of the Education Orders, a child has "special educational needs" if it has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for it. For these purposes, "learning difficulty" includes a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age, or a disability that prevents or hinders it from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in ordinary schools. In the case of a child below compulsory school age, the definition is whether, if special educational provision was not made for it, the child is likely to fall within one of the above categories when it attains that age. The special needs may be temporary, for example when recovering from a period of illness, or long-term. In 1978, the Warnock Report estimated that one child in five would have special educational needs at some stage during their time at school. These needs will of course vary in nature, extent and duration. We set out in Section V how they are met.

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