Statutory assessment G.P

Kathy Peterson made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Education (Northern Ireland)

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Dear Department of Education (Northern Ireland),

From the information you hold can a child's G.P ask the Education Board to consider making a statutory assessment of the child.

Yours faithfully,

Kathy Peterson

Freedom of Information (DENI),

Dear Ms Peterson

Further to your request for information below, I have been provided the following advice in relation to your enquiry>

"Under the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (the 1996 Order) only a parent or a child's school can request an Education and Library Board (ELB) to carry out a statutory assessment of a child's special educational needs (SEN).

Article 14 (1) and (2) of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 set out the responsibility of the Health and Care Boards and the Health and Social Care Trusts in relation to SEN.

Article 14 states:

14.—(1) If a health and social services authority, in the course of exercising any of its functions in relation to a child who has not attained the lower limit of compulsory school age, forms the opinion that he has, or probably has, special educational needs, that authority shall—
(a) inform the child's parent of its opinion and of its duty under this paragraph and paragraph (2); and
(b) after giving the parent an opportunity to discuss that opinion with an officer of the authority, bring it to the attention of the appropriate board.
(2) If, in a case falling within paragraph (1), the health and social services authority is of the opinion that a particular voluntary organisation is likely to be able to give the parent advice or assistance in connection with any special educational needs that the child may have, that authority shall inform the parent accordingly.

If a GP suspects that a child would have SEN, protocol would be to inform the Designated Officer of the Health and Social Care Trust. This officer will act as a point of reference in dealing with parents, officers of the ELBs and other professionals who might be involved. Where they first form an opinion that a child has SEN, doctors may alert parents and children to the possibility that they will be asked to give information to schools and an ELB and may indeed secure the necessary consent to disclosure at that stage.

Where a health and social services authority informs an ELB that a child has SEN the Board may decide to conduct a statutory assessment."


W Elliott
Information Management Unit: Business Support Team
Department of Education, 43 Balloo Road, Bangor, Co Down, BT19 7PR
Tel: 02891 279289: Ext: 59289 (Mon –Wed)

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Dear Freedom of Information (DENI),

Dear W Elliott

Thank you so much for your very prompt reply and very detailed answer.

This has been so helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Kathy Peterson