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Thousands of Northern Ireland pupils wait for medical assessments

More than 2,000 children in Northern Ireland are waiting to be assessed for medical conditions which could impact their education.

West Belfast, North Belfast and South Down are the three worst affected areas.

A Sinn Fein MLA said she would be seeking an urgent meeting with the Education Authority on the matter.

A statutory assessment is used to determine if a child needs extra support at school or nursery.

Currently 2,108 children are going through the process.

The figures were disclosed by Education Minister Peter Weir after an Assembly question from Sinn Fein's Caral Ni Chuilin.

A breakdown by parliamentary constituency shows the highest number are in West Belfast (208 pupils).

North Belfast (172 pupils), South Down (160) and Newry and Armagh (151) are also among the worst affected.

North Belfast MLA Ms Ni Chuilin said: "The number of children waiting to be statemented across the north is unacceptable.

"I have particular concern that North and West Belfast are at the top of those waiting lists."

She added: "I have been meeting with local parents that have children currently awaiting to be assessed and it is clear this delay is stressful for the parent and the child.

"We need to ensure that there are proper resources put in place to ensure an efficient assessment process. Catering for the educational needs of all our children is paramount."

The Education Authority did not respond to requests for comment.

Belfast Telegraph