general

Information On Special Education Needs

A priority for all parents is the consideration of their child’s education.  While this is already a difficult issue, it can become even more challenging if the child has a mental or physical disability where they require special educational provisions.  A priority for all parents is the consideration of their child’s education.  While this is already a difficult issue, it can become even more challenging if the child has a mental or physical disability where they require special educational provisions.

Conditions, such as cerebral palsy or CP, range in severity making it difficult to decide on the correct course of action regarding a child’s education.  Many professionals advise the use of early support and assistance to provide children with a suitable base for development.  Children with severe cases of CP will require full-time support with therapeutic input from specialist schools, teachers, staff and equipment.  Milder cases of CP may be able to enter mainstream schooling using minimal special educational facilities.

The Statement Of Special Educational Needs

For children experiencing severe and complex needs that cannot be met using resources from traditional mainstream state-funded schools, a Statement of Special Educational Needs will be required.  This document, also known as a Statement, will make sure that the child is provided with the most suitable education according to their educational needs.  This may refer to additional support within a mainstream state-maintained school or placement in schools for disabled children.

A Statement is a legally binding document that is issued by a local authority.  It describes the particular special educational needs of the child and indicates the necessary educational provisions required to meet the noted educational needs.  The Statement is required to name a suitable school for the child to attend where the necessary educational provisions are available and must be delivered.

A Statement of Special Educational Needs is a document created to ensure the child is provided with the correct educational resources to meet her or his needs.  Any special educational need provisions, as stated within the Statement, must be delivered to the child and the local authority is obliged to ensure that delivery of the provision is made.

The Options for Education

All educational facilities must admit students that are identified as having special educational needs.  It is illegal for a school to refuse a child based on these facts and the belief that they are not able to cater for the child’s particular educational needs.  If this is done, it is evidence of a discriminatory approach and does not promote an inclusive environment.

Children who do not present a Statement of Special Educational Needs will be required to undergo the normal admissions procedure upon application to a school and they must be treated according to the same rules as other students.  If, however, the child does present with a Statement there will be a different procedure to follow.

If the child has a Statement, it is possible for the parents to choose a preferred school among the state-maintained schooling alternatives.  If the authority believes the educational needs of the statemented child will not be met in the mainstream facility, the department must adhere to the parents’ preference for a state-maintained mainstream educational facility.  For children with more severe special needs, it will be necessary to place the child in a specialist school.

Parental Choice

All parents have the right to choose which school they prefer their child to attend and to provide reasons for their decision.  However, this does not mean that the parental preference is the school that the child will attend or that the child will be offered a place at the preferred facility.

If it is clear that the child requires a special educational needs school, the local authority will work with the parents to determine which the most suitable specialist school is for the child.  Of course, there have been instances where disagreements arise between professionals and parents regarding the school chosen and the type of specialist school recommended.