COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, today stated that more work is needed to improve the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill to protect some of the most vulnerable young people.
Giving evidence to the Assembly’s Committee for Education, Koulla cautioned that even if the Bill was improved, the guidance and code of practice must be strong and clear to enhance the lives of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
“Day and daily I and colleagues at NICCY are talking to parents who are struggling to get their children’s educational needs met,” she said. “Additionally parents are most concerned about the detail in the guidance accompanying the Bill.”
The Commissioner also said more work needs to be done when a young person leaves school and wants to further their education or training.
“NICCY has already reported on the difficulties faced by young people with special educational needs when they make the transition from school to college.
“Today I made recommendations to the committee which included that the statement of special educational needs should follow the young person and not be stuck with the institution. I also told the committee that because as many of these young people require longer to achieve their education potential statements should be extended to 21 years of age.
NICCY has already submitted written evidence to the Assembly committee, highlighting urgent issues that must be addressed in the legislation.
These include: the need to listen to the child or young person, and their parents; the role of Boards of Governors; and, the need to make sure that multi-disciplinary work is protected in order to provide rounded support.
Notes to Editors: