Monday 22 October 2018 12:15:04 AM

McGrath Says Education Authority Must Dispel Shroud Of Misinformation
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SDLP Education Spokesperson Colin McGrath has called for Education Authority officials who he alledges misled MLAs about principal objections to a cut in pre-school hours for children with Special Educational Needs to appear before the Assembly Education Committee.

Colin McGrath MLA is concerned about

Colin McGrath MLA, SDLP education spokesman.

Mr McGrath said that parents are deeply concerned and upset about the situation and need clarity immediately.

Mr McGrath said: “It appears that Education Authority officials misled MLA’s about objections to planned cuts in pre-school hours from school leaders. Whether that was deliberate or not, it clearly had an effect on the public discourse about these cuts which would have a very serious negative impact on the personal development of children with particular needs.

“It is not now sufficient for the Education Authority to simply say they made a mistake. It is clear now that the representative body for special schools made robust representations to the EA and to the previous Education Committee about the effect these cuts would have.

“There is a shroud of misinformation now surrounding this issue. That must be cleared with an open, transparent and public evidence session from Education Authority officials. Officials appearing before the committee next week must be able to answer specific questions about this issue. Not only should they clarify the position of the EA on the inaccurate evidence supplied to the committee, but they must also provide a clear update on where these proposals now stand. Parents have been told that a way forward has been established but now the EA is suggesting that their review has not yet concluded.

“The limbo that parents and children find themselves in is unacceptable. Clarity must be provided immediately.”