Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has spoken of her disappointment at planned strike action by NIPSA that will affect special schools.
Speaking as she issued a letter directly to all Classroom Assistants about the current situation, Ms Ruane said: "I am bitterly disappointed that, once more, the most vulnerable in our society will be affected by the planned industrial action.
"Whilst I understand the frustration of Classroom Assistants that the job evaluation exercise has taken so long, I had hoped that NIPSA would follow the example set by other Unions and exempt Special Schools from strike action.
"Three of the Unions involved have decided to ballot their members on the latest offer. However, I am disappointed that we are left in a position where special needs children will suffer through no fault of their own.
"I would like to reassure Classroom Assistants that extensive salary protection arrangements are on offer, aimed at ensuring no existing member of staff loses out financially and that no-one will have to work longer hours than they currently do.
"I call on anyone considering industrial action to re-consider their position and call off strike action that puts the education of our most vulnerable children at risk."