Pressure is on for pre-school places

Upper Bann MP David Simpson

Upper Bann MP David Simpson

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Many families are facing the agonising wait as the process is currently underway for the allocation of pre-school places.

The long-standing problem concerning the criteria and selection will once again raise its head in mid-April, as parents receive their letters of which some will unfortunately not be their preferred choice.

Ahead of the pre-school places allocation, Upper Bann MP David Simpson has spoken of his determination to see every child afforded a pre-school place.

He has also highlighted his fight for working families to receive as much support as possible, where and when possible.

Mr Simpson said: “We all know the problem areas with some schools receiving significantly more applications than the places available. This is forcing parents to send their children to different schools and this has an impact on the child and indeed family life as parents try to juggle drop off and pick ups.

“Last year the Board received 1,432 stage 1 applications, this fell short of the places available.

“I want to reiterate the Government commitment which is this – that at least one year of pre-school education is available to every family that wants it.

“The Government have given a clear directive that preschool is a firm foundation and substantial benefit to children. I continue to raise this with the Education Authority and the Minister and to ensure that the focus is clear and the need is satisfied in the right areas.

“This is something that I feel very strongly about. I want to assure every parent ahead of the delivery of ’decision’ letters that as their MP I will continue to strive for increased places for the schools that need it.”

In previous years Assembly Members have warned that policy on pre-school provision has created misery for thousands of families across Nthe province with many parents offered places for their children that are nowhere near their homes.