MEMORANDUM FROM THE SOUTH EASTERN EDUCATION
AND LIBRARY BOARD
1. EXPENDITURE ON
|Special Education (centrally funded)||10,769|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||2,063|
| Social Deprivation||2,853|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||N/A|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||10,215|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||2,033|
| Social Deprivation||2,832|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||2,838|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||9,191|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||1,986|
| Social Deprivation||2,716|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||2,102|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||7,759|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||1,936|
| Social Deprivation||2,641|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||1,809|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||7,404|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||1,858|
| Social Deprivation||2,432|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||1,478|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||6,828|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||1,784|
| Social Deprivation||2,175|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||1,202|
|Special Education (centrally funded)||6,026|
|Delegated to schools (LMS formula) Special Needs||1,556|
| Social Deprivation||1,744|
|Excepted items (primary and secondary)||N/A|
(i) The Board is required to maintain records for seven
years only. Information is not available prior to the 1991-92
(ii) Special Education includes Special Schools, Education
Otherwise Than At School, Fees, Educational Psychology, Special
Education Administration, Educational Psychology Administration,
(iii) Special Needs funding is delegated to schools on
the basis of the number of children who qualify using screening
(iv) Social Deprivation funding is delegated to schools
based on Targeting Social Needs factors.
(v) Excepted items include classroom and supervisory assistance
for children with statements in mainstream schools, Special Units
attached to primary and secondary schools, and the Peripatetic
Remedial Service, which provides support to small primary schools
in literacy and numeracy.
2. PRESENT DEMAND
2.1 Present demand has been collated in terms of the number
of children with statements of special educational needs and the
number of children receiving support from Outreach Services.
2.2 At 31 October 1997 there were 2,422 pupils with statements
of special educational needs enrolled at schools in the South
Eastern Education and Library Board area. This included 154 "extra-district"
children (i.e. children resident in other Board areas).
|Type of need/provision||Number of pupils|
|Severe learning difficulties||431|
|Moderate learning difficulties||667|
|Moderate learning difficulties (Primary Units)||236|
|Moderate learning difficulties (Secondary Units)||169|
|Partially Hearing Units||25|
|Speech and Language Units||51|
|Emotional and behaviour difficulties||50|
|Mainstream Primary Schools||325|
|Mainstream Secondary Schools||392|
2.3 A further 267 pupils were receiving provision elsewhere
than in the South Eastern Education and Library Board.
|Grant-aided schools elsewhere in Northern Ireland||251|
|Other provision in Northern Ireland||4|
|Provision in England||12|
2.4 A range of outreach services exist to support children
who have special educational needs. Many of these children receive
support at Stage 3 of the Code of Practice, i.e., without statements
of special educational needs.
|Type of Outreach Support||Number|
|Speech and language||76|
|Pervasive developmental disorder||67|
|Emotional and behaviour difficulties (primary)||63|
|Emotional and behaviour difficulties (secondary)||147|
|Specific learning difficulties||122|
|Sensory impaired|| |
3. EXPECTED FUTURE
3.1 It is difficult to estimate with any degree of certainty
future demands for special educational provision, given the new
legislation which affords parents the right to express a preference
for the kind of educational establishment that their child should
attend. The Board envisages that there will be a growing demand
for children with statements of special educational needs to be
placed in mainstream schools rather than specialist provision.
This will have major implications for the training and development
of teachers and will necessitate additional resources being made
available to mainstream schools to ensure that appropriate support
mechanisms are in place to address the needs of children.
3.2 The Board is conscious of the increasing number of children
with severe learning difficulties often coupled with profound
and multiple medical and physical problems. There is extreme pressure
for places in schools with the specialist facilities required
to meet the complex needs of these children. The Board has also
identified a need for full-time nursing support in these schools.
The Board is working actively with the Eastern Health and Social
Services Board and Health and Social Services Trusts to address
3.3 Future demand for special education provision is estimated
on the basis of analyses of information obtained through:
informal referrals made by schools/Senior Clinical
Medical Officers and Consultant Paediatricians to the Educational
referrals for statutory assessment;
discussions with Senior Clinical Medical Officers/Consultant
Paediatricians in the Health and Social Services Trusts;
regular meetings with Principals;
extrapolation from current information and projection
into the future.
3.4 As a result of these analyses the Board has projected
an increasing demand for the undernoted specialist services:
Speech and Language (long-term provision);
Moderate Learning Difficulties (Units for primary-age
Severe Learning Difficulties;
Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties;
Specific Learning Difficulties (secondary-age
4. REPRESENTATIONS ON
4.1 The Board meets regularly with Principals of schools
to discuss a wide range of issues including special educational
needs. Following such consultation, the Board annually, as part
of its Public Expenditure Survey bid to the Department of Education,
takes account of representations made regarding special educational
4.2 The Board is currently working with the Department of
Education to agree a schedule of accommodation for a new school
to replace Clifton Special School in Bangor which caters for children
with severe learning difficulties. Work is also underway to identify
a suitable site for replacement accommodation for Tor Bank School,
Dundonald. Both schools occupy premises which are totally inadequate
to meet the complex needs of children with severe learning difficulties
and profound and multiple disabilities.
4.3 The Board would also wish to work in partnership with
the Belfast Education and Library Board to address the need for
provision for children with severe learning difficulties in the
South Belfast fringe areas.
5. SHORTFALL IN
5.1 Based on current projections, it is estimated that the
following additional places will be required for the 1998-99 academic
40 places in units for primary-age children with
moderate learning difficulties;
30 places in schools for children with severe
35 places in speech and language units (including
10-15 places for primary-age children with emotional
and behaviour difficulties.
5.2 The Board would also wish to emphasise the importance
of Higher Education Institutes ensuring that student teachers
develop the skills and strategies necessary to identify and address
the needs in the classroom of children with a wide range of special
educational needs. The Board is concerned at the lack of specialist
courses in Northern Ireland to prepare teachers to meet the needs
of children with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties.
6. LIKELY EFFECT
6.1 The Board is still at the stage of assessing, in co-operation
with other statutory bodies, the projected impact of the Children
(Northern Ireland) Order 1995 on the need for special educational
provision. It is clear at this point that a number of issues deriving
from the Order will require the Board to develop services.
6.2 Children's Services Plans
The Board will be required to co-operate with Health and
Social Services to plan services to support and provide for vulnerable
children. In relation to Special Educational Needs provision,
this will mean children with a disability and will require the
involvement of the Board's Educational Welfare Service, Educational
Psychology Service and Special Education Administration in assessing
and making provision in flexible ways for such children.
The Board is working actively with other statutory agencies
to develop an appropriate range of services.
6.3 Juvenile Justice/Secure Provision for Children in
It is proposed that the Board should take responsibility
for the education of children in Northern Ireland Office-managed
settings, including children in secure Health and Social Services
care accommodation. This is an entirely new development. If the
proposals are implemented, substantial additional capital resources
will be required to ensure that current accommodation in Northern
Ireland Office-managed settings is of a standard which is appropriate
to enable delivery of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. Furthermore,
consideration will need to be given to the re-training of existing
staff to ensure that they are equipped to deliver the Northern
It is also the case that determinate sentencing arrangements,
to be introduced in September 1998 under Juvenile Justice legislation,
will mean that the Board will have to attempt to provide for children
who in the past would have been accommodated in Training Schools.
This will mean a considerable expansion in:
support arrangements for schools (particularly
arrangements for education otherwise than at school;
liaison work undertaken by Education Welfare Officers
and Educational Psychologists.
6.4 Arrangements for Children with Severe Learning Difficulties
who present acute challenging behaviour
The Board is aware of a number of children with severe learning
difficulties whose behaviour difficulties are so acute that they
have to be accommodated as in-patients in Muckamore Abbey Hospital
for a period of time. This facility will no longer be available
after 2002 and the Board is consulting with the Eastern Health
and Social Services Board to identify alternative services. In
terms of educational provision this is likely to mean the development
within the Board's schools of additional support units with consequent
capital and recurrent costs. There will also be a need to develop
within Northern Ireland, in association with other Education and
Library Boards and Health and Social Services Boards, specialist
residential facilities for the small number of children for whom
school-based and community-based support services are insufficient.
6.5 The Board received an additional allocation of £116,000
in the 1996-97 financial year for the implementation of the Children
(Northern Ireland) Order. A further £185,000 was made available
in the 1997-98 financial year. The additional finance was used
to support the following initiatives:
awareness training on the Children (Northern Ireland)
appointment of five additional Educational Welfare
Officers to support schools;
provision of "education otherwise than at
school", e.g., on foot of Education Supervision Orders, or
as a result of expulsions, severe behaviour difficulties, etc.;
specialist training for teachers, Education Welfare
Service staff and other Board officers on issues such as child
protection, anti-bullying, groupwork, counselling, report writing
for court purposes, etc.;
the release of teachers to participate in case
conferences with other agencies about individual children at risk;
7. LIKELY EFFECT
7.1 The Board has prepared a Special Educational Needs Policy
in response to, and as required by, the Education (Northern Ireland)
Order 1996. During November 1997 the Board carried out a major
consultation exercise on its Special Educational Needs Policy
with Principals, Boards of Governors, other Education and Library
Boards, Health and Social Services Boards and Trusts, other statutory
agencies, teacher associations and voluntary organisations.
7.2 The views obtained indicated broad support for the key
principles of the Code of Practice as mirrored in the Board's
policy. Major concern was expressed, however, regarding the additional
administrative workloads imposed by the Code and the lack of resources
to ensure effective implementation.
7.3 The Board appreciates that the Department of Education
has identified some additional finance during 1998-99 to assist
with the implementation of the Code, and that further funding
will be made available over the next two financial years. However
the Board believes that the sums identified are totally inadequate
to meet the additional workloads imposed on schools and on the
7.4 In September 1996 the Board advised the Department that
a total of £49 million would be required over a four-year
period to ensure the effective implementation of the requirements
of the Code. Details are provided below.
|Administrative support (HQ)3||0||489,169||541,580||592,822|
|Purchase of specialist services4||0||260,000||260,000||260,000|
|1 Includes: Principals, SENCOs, teachers, Boards of Governors, support materials.|
2 Includes: additional time for Principals, teachers and secretarial staff; additional responsibility points for SENCOs; additional equipment; additional teaching and non-teaching staff.
3 Includes: additional educational psychologists, administrative staff, Curriculum Advisory and Support Service staff.
4 Includes: specialist placements for children/speech therapy, etc.
5 Includes: new IT system.
7.5 The Board is also concerned at its inability to provide
adequate wheelchair access to mainstream schools. There is only
one mainstream secondary school in the Board's area which has
adequate wheelchair access throughout the school. No controlled
secondary schools have appropriate wheelchair access.
Substantial additional capital resources would be required
in order to address this issue.
7.6 The Board is also concerned that the Code is being introduced
in Northern Ireland at a time when the Department of Education
and Employment has published a Green Paper (Excellence for
All Children Meeting Special Educational Needs) which suggest
changes to the operation of the Code of Practice in England and
Wales. While the Board understands that there are no plans at
this time to extend the provisions suggested in the Green Paper
to Northern Ireland, nevertheless it believes that it may be appropriate
to postpone implementation of further aspects of the Code in Northern
Ireland pending the outcome of the consultation exercise on the
8. REFERRALS FOR
8.1 Given that the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996
was only implemented in September 1997, it is too early as yet
to make any definitive statement with regard to its effect in
relation to parents' rights to request a statutory assessment.
However, the Board fully supports the concept of "parents
as partners" in the education of their children. It acknowledges
the right of parents to request a statutory assessment of their
child's special educational needs and the right of parents to
express a preference for the school that their child should attend.
8.2 Details of the number of referrals for statutory assessment
made during the previous two academic years are shown below.
|September 1996-August 1997|
|Senior Clinical Medical Officers||175|
|September 1995-August 1996|
|Senior Clinical Medical Officers||167|
8.3 The Board has developed and published referral criteria
so that all those involved in making referrals for statutory assessment
are aware of the basis on which decisions are made.
9. NUMBER OF
9.1 The Board receives referrals for assessment in relation
to children who may have special educational needs at two stages
of the current referral process:
Stage 2 Referrals (Stage 3 under the Code
of Practice) are made to the Educational Psychology Service by
schools, Senior Clinical Medical Officers and other professionals
who are seeking guidance on making appropriate provision for children.
These referrals relate to children from 12-18 months of age up
to 18 or 19 years and cover a range of special needs.
At 31 December 1997 there were 434 such children still
awaiting informal assessment by educational psychologists.
Stage 3 Referrals (Stage 4 under the Code
of Practice) are requests for statutory assessment under the Education
(Northern Ireland) Order 1996. At 31 December 1997 there were
112 such children still awaiting assessment by Educational Psychologists.
9.2 Delays in assessment are mainly due to:
lack of personnel within the Educational Psychology
lack of personnel within the Health and Social
failure of parents to keep appointments for medical
and psychological assessment;
reluctance of parents to proceed with statutory