Call for change to nursery placing system

Councillor William Irwin and Mrs Marilyn McGaffin from Tandragee who is having difficulty in obtaining a nursery place for her child. INPT16-208.
Councillor William Irwin and Mrs Marilyn McGaffin from Tandragee who is having difficulty in obtaining a nursery place for her child. INPT16-208.

A Tandragee mother has lambasted the nursery school placing system she claims discriminates against working parents.

Marilyn McGaffin lashed out at the system after her daughter was allocated only a part time nursery placement at a local nursery school.

She claims that if her daughter came from a socially disadavantaged background she would have been given a full time placement.

Mrs McGaffin said: “I would like to highlight the deficiencies in the current system of allocating pre-school places, where children of parents who both work are placed secondary to those who parents are considered disadvantaged, even though, economicially their suitation may be similar. This practice results in some children being unable to obtain a pre school place and with other children receiving a full time place.

“So as a tax payer and a working parent my experience is that there has been reduced opportunity of my child receiving the higher available pre school education such as full time.

She said that while she feels fortunate that her daughter has received a part time placement in an excellent nursery school, she still feels the system is unfair.

“Disappointment steps in and you feel an unfairness for your child because of differentation based on perceived social circumstances.

“As priority is given to families with socially disadvantaged circumstances or where a brother or sister has attended, this results in a reduced chance for a first child receiving a full time place at their first choice of nursery,” she said.

“There seems to be inequality which results in disappointments for hard working families. I feel it’s time for change,” said Mrs McGaffin.