Concern has been expressed at the lack of nursery places in the Craigavon area with some parents being told their children haven’t got a place at a school they live within 50 yards of.
The DUP group on Craigavon Borough Council have said many families have been left distraught at the fact that their children have not obtained a nursery place in their local school.
Councillor Carla Lockhart, speaking on behalf of the DUP group across Lurgan, Portadown, and Central Craigavon, said: “This is a very trying time for parents and to get a letter informing you that your child has not been successful in obtaining a place in their local nursery causes great disappointment and concerns for the following year when P1 applications have to be made.
“Some of those contacting us live literally within 50 yards of their chosen school and to receive a rejection letter is highly frustrating.
“It is time Minister O’Dowd stopped enforcing criteria upon Boards of Governors that disadvantage some children within society. We will be collectively writing to Minister O’Dowd to call on him to re-look at the criteria that he is enforcing on schools and will be calling on him to increase provision in the area.
The Department of Education pointed out all admissions criteria are set by pre-school providers themselves, adding: “Legislation does, however, require that the top criterion for each provider prioritises children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. income-based jobseekers’ allowance. Research has shown that children from socially disadvantaged circumstances tend to experience more difficulty at school than other children, so they are given priority in the pre-school admissions process as part of wider efforts to tackle educational underachievement.