Wednesday, July 6, 2022


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A MILLISLE girl has been left ‘devastated’ after being told she must wait several weeks before finding out which post primary school she will be attending.

With all her classmates already knowing their new schools, 11 year-old Arianna Marshall has been told it will be some time before she finds out where she will be going to school in September.

Arianna, a pupil of Millisle Primary School, has austism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a brain disorder called chiari. She has a statement of educational needs (SEN) which covers her medical needs and ASD but because of this she is being treated differently from all her school friends who now know which secondary school they will be attending.

Her mother Michelle has had to collect her from school on numerous occasions because of her health needs and wants the reassurance her daughter will be placed somewhere close to where she lives which will be easily accessible and where she feels Arianna will be safe.

“Arianna was devastated – it really hurt her.” Mrs Marshall said. “I just want her to be treated the same as the other children”.

A spokeswoman for the Education Authority said the SEN admissions process was managed separately to ensure each child receives a suitable placement that will appropriately support and cater to their individual needs.

“This is managed on a case-by-case basis and children are informed once their school placement has been finalised, rather than on a fixed date,” she continued. 

“We do however recognise that this can be a stressful time for children and young people and our dedicated team of link officers are working closely with families and schools to agree appropriate placements to best meet children’s needs”.

 Parents of children with a statement of special educational needs with any concerns are encouraged to contact their link officer directly or the SEN helpline which is open Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm on 028 9598 5960.  Further information is available at


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