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Press Releases 2016

Northern Conference 2016: Press Release - Special Needs Proposals Will Lead To Increase in Behavioural Problems

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Delegates assembled at the Northern Conference of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), in the Hilton hotel, Templepatrick, today expressed concerns that proposals to address the Special Needs of pupils may lead to increases in violence in classrooms.

Mr Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of INTO, said,

Current proposals to educate children with special needs closer to their home may not deliver the educational outcomes expected. INTO is very concerned that within these proposals the losers will be children who exhibit hard to manage behaviours in the classroom. Many mainstream schools are neither designed, resourced or have their staffs been appropriately trained to meet the educational requirements of these children with special needs.As a result, incidents of unacceptable behaviour including increased numbers of assaults on pupils, teachers and support staff are a real concern for INTO.”

Mr Murphy continued,

INTO wishes to ensure that all children have access to the best education possible and to ensure that this is delivered in a safe and secure environment.  We do not wish to see vulnerable pupils on buses for hours to reach their school or college. However, we have a duty to ensure that the classroom is a safe environment for all pupils, teachers and support staff. Pupils with special and particular learning needs are entitled to be educated in a situation which is appropriate for their needs.”

Mr Murphy concluded,

“This Conference is calling on the Education Authority to ensure that pupils, teachers and support staff are safe in their classrooms; that all are free from the threat of assaults or violence and that schools are resourced, supported and have access to appropriate specialised help to deal with the pupils whose behaviours are beyond the control of the school. The new arrangements for dealing with the special needs of pupils must be fit for purpose. Until INTO are assured that the outworking of these proposals will not increase classroom assaults or will mean that schools can only get the service they can afford then INTO remains to be convinced that they offer any significant improvement.”