Closes 2 Mar 2021

Opened 30 Sep 2020


The focus of this consultation is on the new SEN Regulations.  A full copy of the consultation document and the new draft Regulations can be found in the related documents below and also on the Department of Education website.

Links to other related documents including a summary guide for parents and young people and an easy read version for younger children are also attached to help you to respond to this consultation.

For information a copy of the Equality and Human Rights Screening, the Rural Needs Impact Assessment, the Data Protection Impact Assessment and the Privacy Notice associated with this consultation are also available below.


Why we are consulting

The Department has been working to develop a new improved and more responsive SEN Framework.  The new SEN Framework is made up 3 elements:

  • The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (the 2016 Act).
  • New SEN Regulations.
  • A new SEN Code of Practice.

This consultation is on the new Regulations which will support the primary legislation - the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (the 1996 Order), as amended most recently by the 2016 Act.  

The Department previously consulted on a set of new draft Regulations back in 2016 but due to the time delay, the absence of the Assembly, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the significant improvements made to the new draft SEN Regulations since the 2016 consultation, the Department is taking the unusual step of consulting again on the Regulations.

The new Regulations provide the detailed processes and timescales to be followed by Boards of Governors, the Education Authority (EA) and health and social care authorities (this includes the Health and Social Care Trusts – HSC Trusts) to carry out their statutory duties to identify and assess if a child has, or may have, special educational needs and to put in place special education provision for those children who have SEN.  The new draft Code of Practice is subject to a separate consultation.

We encourage you to submit your views via the Online Survey link below.  If you are unable to complete the questionnaire via this link a copy of the questions is available as an annex in the consultation document below.  If you would like an electronic version of the questions to complete and return by email then please contact us.  Copies in other formats, including Braille, large print, etc may be made available on request.  Please contact us if you need copies in an alternative format or a language other than English and we will do our best to assist you.  Contact details are as follows:

Email –

Telephone – 02891 279889

Post - Special Education and Inclusion Review Team
Department of Education
Rathgael House 
43 Balloo road
BT19 7PR


Responses should be submitted to arrive no later than 5pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021.

Please note that we may publish all responses except for those where the respondent indicates that they are an individual acting in a private capacity (e.g. a member of the public).  All responses from organisations and individuals responding in a professional capacity will be published.  We will remove email addresses and telephone numbers from these responses; but apart from this, we will publish them in full. 


Give Us Your Views


  • All stakeholders


  • Special Educational Needs