Judith Cochrane MLA said: “I am extremely pleased that following all the excellent campaigning work done by a range of parents, groups and politicians, the Minister has now made a commitment to bring forward legislation that will remove the July/August birthdays criterion. Furthermore the Minister has pledged to keep the criterion relating to social disadvantage under review.
“Unfortunately these changes will not have an impact on the intake for 2012/13 but I have sought assurances from the Minister that he will work with the pre-school providers to ensure adequate places are made available.
“You simply cannot and must not underestimate the importance of early years provision and strategy. We must ensure that every child has the best start in life in order to help them reach their potential.”