A leading disability action group has called for more monitoring of disabled children in schools and early childhood education.
CCS Disability Action says that education policy disadvantages children with disabilities because of insufficient data on disabled children in schools or in early childhood education services.
Chief Executive of CCS Disability Action, David Matthews said data was collected on other variables but there was not enough information about disabled children. For example, he said, the Education Review Office collected data on a student’s ethnic background and could provide a breakdown of the ethnic groups within schools but it could not do a similar breakdown based on children with disabilities.
This made it hard to know how many students with disabilities were in the education system or accessing services such as the On-going Resourcing System (ORS).
The same issues were arising in early childhood education, he said where again no data was regularly collected on disabilities, despite research showing disabled children often faced barriers to participating fully in ECE.
Mr Matthews said that until more data was collected it was hard to develop adequate policies and set priorities for disabled children in education.