Speaking at the latest meeting of Belfast City Council, Paula Bradshaw added the lack of places provided the opportunity to develop a properly planned, integrated and access-by-all system across Belfast.
“Like many, I was inundated earlier this year by very concerned, and at times, angry parents and grandparents because their child did not receive an offer at their local nursery unit,” she said.
“The Assembly must treat this issue as a high priority – it shouldn’t be too difficult to predict the number of nursery places needed from birth records and migration data. Belfast is a growing, changing city and this issue must be addressed.
“I would also call for an urgent review of the so-called PEGS programme brought in by the Education Authority. While the staff that had to hastily put this in place are to be applauded – with community and voluntary sector childcare providers quick to react and create capacity – we need to ensure a fairer system going forward, a system that is adequately resourced in those areas already under stress.”