Allocation of nursery places is lambasted by politicians

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Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson accused Education Minister John O’Dowd of failing parents and pupils when it comes to the allocation of funded pre-school places.

The Ulster Unionist Westminster election candidate said ‘the allocation system is not working’.

David Simpson

David Simpson

“Year on year, we continue to have disappointed parents and children who do not receive their preferred choices.

“This issue has serious financial implications for the parents of children who are denied a place, many of whom are working parents who can ill afford to pay. The criteria is completely wrong, but the Minister simply refuses to listen.”

Mrs Dobson, who is standing in the Westminster elections, said the Ulster Unionist Party manifesto pledges to end the postcode lottery for pre-school places,” she said adding that she will be taking cases up with the EA.

DUP Westminster Candidate for Upper Bann David Simpson has called an emergency meeting to be held in Craigavon Civic Centre on Friday, April 24, at 4.30pm with Minister Arlene Foster and MEP Diane Dodds given the outcry from parents concerning the lack of nursery provision. Mr Simpson claimed 85 children remain unplaced within the area.

“In my 10 years of politics I have never seen such a deluge of complaints about children who have not been placed within nursery units of their choice. Lurgan is at breaking point and has been designated as a pressure point by the Department yet we see little efforts to actually award additional places within schools such as Dickson, Kingspark, Magheralin, Waringstown. I firmly believe that it does discriminate against certain sections of the community.”