Special educational needs
If you consider that your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN), you should discuss this with your child's class teacher and / or school principal in the first instance.
The statutory responsibility for securing provision for pupils with SEN rests with both schools and the 5 Education and Library Boards (ELBs). They are responsible under special education legislation for identifying, assessing and in appropriate cases, making provision for children with SEN in their areas.
This legislation does not give the Department of Education (DE) any role in the identification and assessment of children's SEN or any power to intervene in the process, which is intended to be conducted between parents, schools and ELBs.
Unhappy with the proposed SEN provision for your child?
If you remain unhappy about the nature of the proposed SEN provision you have the choice of two routes:- informal and formal to raise your concerns.
Informal Route - Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS)
The informal route is a cross-board Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS) that provides an opportunity to resolve areas of disagreement between parents and schools and / or ELBs.
The DARS Service Manager is Oliver Sherry, who can be contacted on 028 3751 2383.
Formal Route - Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)
The formal route, which is set in special education legislation, gives parents the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) about ELB decisions on SEN provision.
An appeal to the tribunal must be made within 2 months of any disputed decision and may be made by application to the Tribunal Secretary at 028 9072 8757 or in writing to the Specia Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Secretariat, 3rd Floor, Bedford House, 16-22 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7FD.