Government claims that it provides a nursery place for every child in Northern Ireland have been described as ‘nonsense’ by TUV North Antrim MLA, Jim Allister.
After receiving a large number of complaints about the failure of parents to obtain nursery places for their children in North Antrim and other places in Northern Ireland, the TUV leader has written to the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education complaining about the issue.
He said: “People who do not receive benefits are particularly aggrieved by the fact that this counts against them when seeking a place at their preferred nursery.
“Frankly the department’s claim that they provide a place for every child is a nonsense because in many instances it is totally impractical for the parent to get their child to the nursery in which they have been offered a place.
“A nursery place is only of use if the parents can actually get their child to it. In one case a child has been denied a place even though she knows a lot of the children attending Bushmills nursery unit and her older sister - who has now moved on to school - attended there in the past.”
Mr. Allister contended that ‘squandering of money’ on Irish medium schools was partly to blame for the situation.
He said: “Part of the explanation for this is the withdrawal of Early Years funding. Given that the Department has money to squander on Irish medium schools which have a derisory number of pupils, parents question the priorities of the Department.”