A section of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2016 which requires the Education Authority to seek and have regard to the views of the child has come into operation today.
Education Minister, Peter Weir said: “I am committed to improving the current system of special educational provision and to support pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to meet their full potential.
“This new duty on the Education Authority will provide children with SEN the opportunity to participate in the decision making process involving their education.
“I want to ensure that children have access to the necessary information and support to enable them to participate, and make their views known, in decisions relating to their future.”
The remaining provisions in the SEND Act will be commenced in due course and when the necessary support arrangements are put in place.
Peter Weir continued: “The new draft SEN Regulations and Code of Practice are currently out for consultation but I decided rather than wait until that process concluded, that it was in the best interests of children to implement this provision as soon as possible.
“I have asked the Education Authority to put the necessary arrangements in place to implement this change from today.”
Notes to editors:
- Section 1 requires the Education Authority, so far as reasonably practical, to seek and have regard to the views of the child. It further requires the Education Authority to have regard to the importance of that child participating in decisions and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions.
- The commencement of Section 1 of the SEND Act requires the Education Authority, so far as reasonably practical, to seek and have regard to the views of the child.
- The remaining provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (called the SEND Act 2016) require Commencement Orders to be made to bring them into operation. Most of the other duties can only be commenced when the new SEN Regulations are made by the Assembly. The new draft SEN Regulations and Code of Practice are currently out for consultation.
- The 16 week public consultation is open until 19 January 2021 and is available to access on the department’s website under the consultations section.
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