Delight as board agrees to more playgroup places

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Richmount Pre-School Playgroup is to get four more funded places after the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) finally agreed to the request.

Playgroup secretary Joe Garvey said common sense had prevailed.

The playgroup committee had written to the SELB explaining that it had 13 first preferences but only nine places - with three of the children affected living within 200 yards of the playgroup and the other one mile away.

Chairman Joe Garvey said, “I made the case that it did not make sense to ask the parents to bring these children many miles to another facility and have grandparents/minders having to go many miles to collect.

“There was also the potential loss to Richmount Primary School and to the general cohesion of the Scotch Street community.”

The board’s Pre-School Education Advisory Group (PEAG) said it was awarding the places on the basis of need in the wider Portadown area, and stressed the increase was in the context of need for 15/16 places only and there was no guarantee of this level of places into the future.

Richmount is also planning to extend its registered number of places to 24 which will give it greater capacity for the pre, pre-school children.

DUP MP David Simpson and MLA Sydney Anderson said they had worked with Mr Garvey on the battle for places and were delighted with the news, describing the area as one of “growth and expansion with young families”.