Lockhart battles for more nursery places

DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart has pledged to fight for additional nursery places in Donaghcloney - following disappointment last year.

The Upper Bann Assembly candidate made the comments after the release of places last Friday.

“Once again we have experienced a raft of disappointed parents in the area,” Cllr Lockhart explained.

“There are particular pressure points, namely the Donaghcloney and Waringstown area, and it has caused great distress for families who had hoped their child would get placed in one of their local school nurseries.

“Year on year this issue causes difficulty and, once again, we see a frustration concerning the criteria applied by the Department and the understanding of the process. There needs to be further assistance given to parents and families when applying so as not to build expectations and there needs to be a rethink on the departmental criteria and how it is applied.”

She continued: “I have raised my concerns with the Education Authority and with the local schools concerning an increase in provision. I will try and extend the hours available in the Waringstown Nursery because, at present, it is part-time and yet the facility is available for full-time usage.

“We need to profile the area, look at the pressure points, look at the birth rate and have a more flexible form of allocation with temporary variance being permitted as is the case with Primary 1 classes. I will be working with the relevant authorities to try and assist these families and try to get a way forward.”