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In the last Chief Inspector’s Report (2008-2010) it was suggested that ‘more should be done to meet the individual needs of pupils who are struggling to learn'.

Despite the fact that the pupil population is declining in Northern Ireland, the number ofpupils with special educational needs is increasing. Departmentof Education statistics suggest that between 2000 and 2009,whereas the number of pupils attending special schools has more or less remained static, the number of pupils with statements attending mainstream has risen from 4939 to 9392. Around 20% ofthe school age population has been identified as having SEN and it is thought that around 35% may have additional educational needs.

When the Department of Education’s capacity building project commenced, consultation with schools revealed a demand for capacity building for all teachers (not just SENCOs) to seek to bring about situations whereby the needs of children could be met by mainstream teachers, in class, without the need for additional support.

The schools called for dissemination of good practice within and between schools, cluster groups, free resources, knowledge of suitable strategies and a whole school approach.