Independent review of special educational needs will drive forward change for children and young people

Date published: 23 May 2023

The Department of Education has welcomed an independent review that forms the basis for transformational change of the SEN system in Northern Ireland to ensure that every child with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is happy, learning and succeeding.

Independent review of special educational needs
Independent review of special educational needs

The IPSOS review was commissioned by the Department in April 2022 to look at current SEN services and provision with the aim of improving outcomes for children with SEN right across Northern Ireland.

Permanent Secretary, Mark Browne said:

“The transformation of SEN services is a key priority for the Department, the Education Authority, and the whole education sector to drive forward change and improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable children and young people.

“Children with special educational needs and disabilities deserve a high quality, child centred and cost-effective education which meets their individual needs."

Acknowledging the wide-ranging recommendations within the report Dr Browne continued:

“This report indicates that systemic reform is critical to ensure the delivery of high quality, child-centred provision through earlier intervention, a highly skilled and trained workforce and pupil support services that are flexible, timely and responsive as children’s needs emerge.

“There are a number of recommendations contained in this review, some of which will challenge how things are currently done, however I am confident that in collaboration with key partners we can drive forward change at pace to improve the lives of all children with special educational needs.”

Following consideration of the report, the Department will publish a more detailed response to the findings and recommendations in due course.

The report can be accessed by clicking the following link -

Notes to editors: 

  1. Following the Department’s acceptance of recommendation 2 of the 2021 PAC “Report on Impact Review of Special Educational Needs”, IPSOS was commissioned in April 2022, to carry out the Independent Review of SEN Provisions and Processes (the Review). The IPSOS Team has now concluded its review and has submitted, for publication, the final version of the report and executive summary to the Department.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni(external link opens in a new window / 2tab)
  3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top