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Special Education, SENDO

SENDO stands for the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005. This Order came into operation on the 1st September 2005.


SENDO amended and added to the existing Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and also introduced some new legislation to Northern Ireland.


  • It increases the right of children to inclusion in mainstream schooling if that is the wish of their parents and is compatible with the provision of efficient education for other children.

  • Imposes a duty on Education and Library Boards to provide for parents with children with special educational needs advice and information relating to those needs.

  • Imposes a duty on Education and Library Boards to provide a means of avoiding or resolving disputes between schools or Boards and parents.

  • Imposes a duty on Boards to comply with orders of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal  within certain time limits

  • Imposes a duty on schools to inform a parent if special educational provision is being made for their child.

  • Permits a “responsible body” to request a review or assessment of educational needs.

  • Brings Northern Ireland schools within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.


This is only a brief summary of the provisions of the Order. A full copy of the Order can be found under Legislation.


Related Documents


  • pdf
  • Equality Commission NI - Disability Discrimination Code of Practice for Schools (SENDO) (.pdf) [pdf / 762KB] This Code of Practice explains the duties placed upon schools only. This Code explains how SENDO makes it unlawful for bodies responsible for the provision of education and other associated services to discriminate against disabled pupils and prospective pupils. SENDO makes it unlawful to treat disabled people less favourably for a reason related to their disability: to make 'reasonable adjustments', to ensure, where reasonable, education is fully accessible to disabled people and to ensure
  • pdf
  • SENDO Flyer (.pdf) [pdf / 24KB] From 1 September 2005, Northern Ireland will have a new law. It will give children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) new rights in schools; and introduce to Northern Ireland, for the first time, disability discrimination laws for the whole education system, including general qualifications bodies.