Derry’s council to put in writing to Minister of Training over issues about how youngsters with particular wants are being handled

Derry’s advice is to write to the Minister of Education about concerns about finding secondary school places for children with special needs.

Several local councils announced today at a meeting of the Health and Community Committee of Derry City and Strabane County Council that they had been contacted in recent days by parents unable to find a place for their children.

The primary school pupils found out last weekend which secondary school they were admitted to.

Hundreds of children across Northern Ireland, however, have yet to be allocated a school.

Today it turned out that some local children with special needs are among those who have yet to secure a place in school.

Independent councilor Sean Carr said he and another independent councilor, Gary Donnelly, had met a “number of families” in the past few days with children attending secondary school in September.

“These children have additional needs and require specialized education,” said Cllr Carr.

“The education authority has informed the families that they will not allow this and has advised these families to send their children to mainstream school.

“This has caused considerable anxiety among children, parents and guardians.

“This is unacceptable and the needs of these vulnerable children must be met by those responsible.

“We recognize that there are other children in a similar situation and I would encourage any family in this situation to seek help and to oppose this denial of a basic human right.”

At today’s council meeting, Cllr Carr tabled a motion that “calls on the education authority to take immediate action to protect the rights and promote the educational welfare of these vulnerable children and to secure suitable post-primary places where their needs are met”. .

In a second part of the application, the Council was asked to write to the Minister of Education on this matter.

The motion was unanimously supported by the city councils at today’s meeting.

SDLP Councilor Brian Tierney and Sinn Fein Councilor Sandra Duffy said at today’s meeting that they had also been contacted by local families in a similar situation in the past few days.


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