End to End Review of Special Educational Needs (SEN)

This page will provide updates on the progress of the End to End Review of SEN which is being taken forward by Department of Education and the Education Authority.


The Department of Education (DE) and Education Authority (EA) are committed to meeting the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) by ensuring the right support from the right people, at the right time, and in the right place. We know this is currently not the case for many children with SEN in Northern Ireland.  All too often, investment has not resulted in improved outcomes for all children with SEN and we recognise that there is an urgent need for improvement.

We have heard consistently from stakeholders about the range of challenges across the SEN system, extending from difficulties accessing services through to the lack of advice and support available to both parents/carers and schools.

Review Process

In order to address these issues, the DE  and EA have recently embarked on an End to End Review of (SEN). This will allow us to take an in depth look at the SEN system and make the changes necessary for more effective service delivery.

  • For children with SEN, this means that they have the same opportunities as their peers.
  • For staff, this means that they feel confident and capable to meet the additional support needs of children in the classroom.
  • For parents, this means that they are confident in the system, are communicated with, and have the tools to support their children.

The workstreams being taken forward as part of the End to End Review have been deliberately selected to address the challenges highlighted by stakeholders, with a view to creating an implementation plan for change. This is not a further review of the challenges; it is a way for us to develop solutions from policy development through to operational delivery.

To accelerate the pace of change, we have, along with stakeholders, identified several priority areas which can be progressed within a short timeframe and used to inform the longer-term change across the system. These include professional support in the classroom, communications, parental referrals, placements and admissions, and a new approach to Stage 2 support services.

Your views

Having listened to the views of our parents/ carers, schools and partner agencies we agree that one of the most urgent priorities is improving access to and delivery of support at Stage 2 of the new draft Code of Practice (the stage before a statutory assessment may be required). The EA is currently developing a new Stage 2 support model which will be implemented from September 2024.

While the new model of support will commence from September, it will continue to evolve in line with best practice. There is a lot of work to do between now and then.

A survey ran from 31 January to 13 March 2024 to gather views on  transition arrangements for young people with SEN leaving compulsory education and moving into adulthood.   Responses to the survey are currently being analysed and will be considered alongside the views of young people to inform the future direction of the transition planning process.

This page will be updated with opportunities for parents/carers, children and young people and professionals to express their view on our direction of travel in shaping the outcomes of the review and ensuring that we are delivering a child centered, needs based system.

Please get in touch via the QR code or link below if you would like to take part in the End to End Review of SEN.

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Click here to register your interest in the End to End Review

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