Autistic UK Statement on proposed closures of SEN schools in Belfast;
Autistic UK would like to place on record it’s grave concern at the announcement by the Education Authority in Northern Ireland on Monday, to close SEN schools and to create three larger so-called “super schools”.
Autistic UK believes this is simply a cost-cutting exercise that is being dressed up as a “transformation” of services.
Increasing school and classroom sizes has tended to have a negative effect on the educational standard a child receives. This also has the potential to have classrooms made up of children with widely varying needs, which will mean that it is not possible to give each child the specialised support they require.
Autistic UK further notes that the Education Authority’s decision to announce this plan on a public holiday gives the impression that this plan was not something they wished to see receive media attention.
Parents have only found out through the media that their child’s school may close, and this has sparked widespread panic, upset and anger.
Autistic UK is calling upon the Education Authority to give parents and schools accurate and honest information, regarding these potential school closures.
Autistic UK also urges the Education Authority to ensure that stakeholders will be given enough time to adequately respond to the proposals.