SEN Pilot - Specialist provision in mainstream schools (October 2020)

The Department of Education, working closely with its education partners, is exploring barriers to effective area planning.

A key issue highlighted through this work is the inflexibility of the statutory Development Proposal (DP) process to establish, close or change Specialist provision in mainstream schools (e.g. year on year in response to local demands). The need for a new process to replace this current mechanism for change is the focus of a pilot exercise, which the Education Authority is taking forward on the Department’s behalf.

The intention of the Pilot is to develop, test and explore a new process which will facilitate the establishment, closure or change of Specialist Provision at (sustainable) mainstream schools in an agile, efficient and expedient manner without the requirement for a DP.

The pilot is running in parallel with the Department’s and EA’s consultations on the draft SEN Regulations and Code of Practice and draft Area Planning Frameworks respectively. It is envisaged that, collectively, the information gathered from stakeholders through the aforementioned consultations and the pilot excise will inform a new process for the approval and implementation of the Specialist provision at mainstream schools.

The EA’s draft Framework for Specialist Provision in Mainstream Schools and Pilot documents, including the consultation response questionnaires, can be accessed on EA’s website in this link 

Your views are important and will help shape future Area Planning processes and structures.

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