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Education Minister Peter Weir has today published an enhanced autism training programme for teachers and the wider educational workforce.

The newly enhanced Training Framework will be delivered online with support provided by the Education Authority (EA) and Middletown Centre of Autism (MCA) with separate courses specifically tailored for Early Years, Primary and Post-Primary.

Speaking at Belvoir primary school where he visited their Social Communication Provision. Peter Weir said: “The number of children and young people with autism in our schools continues to increase and we have a responsibility to deliver services that can meet their needs.

“It is a privilege to see at first hand the great work that is carried out in schools such as Belvoir primary school, to support pupils with autism.

“The enhanced training programme will provide all members of the educational community with a clear understanding of policies, procedures and obligations, ensuring pupils with autism have the best educational outcomes.

I am confident that the Enhanced Framework is an important step in addressing identified gaps in current autism training provision for staff. I will keep the uptake of training under review as the programme rolls out to ensure it remains fit for purpose and with the aim of training for all.”

The framework has been developed to equip all teachers, including trainee teachers and Classroom Assistants, with a range of strategies and skills which will enable them to manage the needs of all children, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN), within the classroom.