Special Educational Needs

In 2016-17 just over 76,300 children in Northern Ireland were reported as having special educational needs (SEN). This represents 22 % of the school population. The majority of these children are educated in mainstream schools and their needs are expected to be met within the school through reasonable adjustment and support.  The costs associated with providing for them are primarily funded from school budgets.


Where a child has more complex needs and the help needed cannot reasonably be provided within the normal resources available to a school, the Education Authority will consider making a formal statement of SEN which sets out the child’s needs and the special help required. In 2016-17 just over 17,000 children in Northern Ireland had a statement of SEN.


As the number of children with SEN continues to rise so too does the associated cost.  In 2015-16 the Education Authority spent £217million on children with SEN.

This report focuses on the provision for children with SEN in mainstream schools. The report looks at the process for identifying these children including the statutory assessment process. The report also looks at the costs of providing for children with SEN. Finally the report examines the processes in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of the SEN provision.