Review of SEN Provision – ‘Too Little, Too Late’

NICCY Too Little, Too Late cover‘Too Little, Too Late’ sets out the findings of a Rights Based Review of Special Educational Needs (SEN) Provision in Mainstream Schools in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the Review was to explore the barriers that prevent children and young people from fully realising their right to an effective education in the context of SEN provision in mainstream schools. It also assessed the impact on children’s education, and mental health and wellbeing, when their needs are not met. It involved a comprehensive process of stakeholder engagement conducted over 18 months. This included capturing the views of parents/carers, Principals and SENCOs, Educational Psychologists, and representatives from the Voluntary Community Sector. It also involved an analysis of official statistical data.

The Review found a series of significant flaws in the system which have presented barriers for children and young people in accessing vital supports and services. It revealed a system under extreme pressure, unable to respond to the scale of need and the complexity of issues that children are presenting. It also highlighted the frustrations of many parents and professionals in trying to get their voices heard by an education system that has, to date, consistently demonstrated an inability to prioritise and respect the perspective of these key stakeholders.

The final report sets out 40 recommendations to address these fundamental weaknesses in the system. Although some recommendations identify a specific Department or agency who should assume responsibility for taking the recommendation forward, a system wide response is required to address the challenges identified in the Review. All relevant agencies and sectors must co-operate to deliver the outlined recommendations and therefore an improved service for children with special educational needs.Too Little, Too Late report pack


We have produced a report pack which includes the Main Report, Summary Report, Parents report and Easy Read.

Next steps

Monitoring of TLTL Recommendations

NICCY committed to monitoring Relevant Authorities’ implementation of the Review recommendations. We issued the report of findings to all relevant authorities and have continued to engage all agencies to ensure that the recommendations are actioned and outcomes improved for children and young people with special educational needs. In March 2022, two years after the Review was launched, we published our first Monitoring Report and Table, which can be viewed here:

In March 2024, four years after the Review was launched, we published our third Monitoring Report and Table, which can be viewed here:

NICCY review of SEN in mainstream schools

Education Committee Briefing – 10 June 2020

We provided a briefing for the Education Committee – you can view the briefing below:

More Information