Alliance East and South Belfast MLAs have raised the provision of nursery and primary education in their constituencies at the Assembly on Tuesday during an adjournment debate.
Judith Cochrane MLA said: “We recently met the new Education Authority to discuss these issues and were pleased by their positive response to our concerns.
“In recent years I have secured some changes to the application process and these have been beneficial but there are further improvements that can be made. I have again asked the Minister to reassess the need for the social disadvantage criterion and also to consider what more his Department can do to provide better information to parents in order to assist them in making choices which are more likely to lead to a more positive outcome.
“The issue of admissions at Strandtown Primary school has also been a big worry for parents of pupils at the feeder schools. Thankfully, the Education Authority has finally agreed to submit a development proposal to match the numbers of intake at Primary 4 with the admissions numbers for P1 in Dundela, Greenwood and Belmont. I trust when this proposal comes before the Minister he will be swift to approve it. There is, however, still the issue of outstanding capital works required to provide permanent accommodation for all pupils on the Strandtown site.”
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I would like to pay tribute to the teachers and schools who play such a vital role in the development of our children, and the parent teacher associations that are so key to our schools.
“One of the main issues that constituents continue to raise with me is the provision of pre-school and primary education in East Belfast. Over-subscription can cause anxiety, confusion and a lack of faith in the system.
“We do not just want more money to be thrown at this issue, but better area planning and co-ordination. There should also be improvements to the provision of information to help parents navigate their way through the application process.”