Judith Cochrane MLA said: “As a mum of young children, I know how busy this time of year can be, but I would urge parents to act now to ensure that they do not miss the application deadline.
“The draft Programme for Government gives a commitment to provide at least one year of pre-school education for all those who want it, however this does not mean that children will always be placed in their preferred setting. I still have concerns about the lack of information for parents in relation to the application process which is especially difficult for parents who are negotiating the system for the first time. I would therefore encourage parents to take the opportunity to visit the pre-school providers in their area and ask questions about specific entrance criteria so that they can make informed choices when completing the application form.”
Mrs Cochrane who has been campaigning on the issue of oversubscription for nursery school places for a long time, last year secured changes to the application process to ensure that it gives priority to children in their final pre-school year. She has continued to liaise with parents, pre-school providers and the Department of Education to find ways to further improve the process and increase provision.
Judith said: “Every child deserves the best start in life and I believe pre-school education is a key element of this. I was pleased that we managed to secure an extra 16 places at St Colmcille’s Pre-School Playgroup and hope that this will ease the demand for places in East Belfast.”
Application forms for the 2012-13 year are available in pre-school settings, primary schools and on the Education and Library Boards’ websites. The closing date for pre-school applications is Wednesday 11th January 2012 at 12 noon.