October 22, 2021
Minister must resolve crisis facing special schools ­– Sheehan

Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has urged the education minister to get to grips with the staffing crisis currently facing our special schools.

 Speaking following an emergency appeal from a substitute teacher body, the West Belfast MLA said:

 “I am deeply concerned at reports that some special schools have had to close early for the mid-term due to staff absences and a lack of available substitute cover.

“Accessing appropriately qualified teachers for special schools has been a long-running problem throughout the pandemic and successive DUP Education Ministers have failed to get to grips with the issue.

“That failure means that our special school leaders are left with no choice but to close, it’s now up to the Minister to get a plan in place to support these schools in the days ahead to ensure they can re-open safely after the mid-term.

“The disruption to education during the pandemic has severely impacted children with special educational needs.

“It’s vital these schools are supported to remain open, and that further disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.

“I will be writing to the Education Minister today to raise this issue and to get clarity on how she intends to resolve this.” Críoch/Ends

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