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Every child deserves a nursery place

As a parent of a four-year-old who secured the second-last place in our local nursery and who is also the father of nine-month-old twins, I welcome the announcement from the Minister of Education that children born in July or August will no longer get priority for places in nursery and that the definition of social disadvantage is being widened.

However, it is important to recognise those advocates who fought for these changes - the nursery school principals who consistently argued for a more robust process and the parents in Local Kids 1st who campaigned for a fairer allocation process for nursery schools.

By turning the Long Gallery at Stormont into a nursery in June last year, they ensured that their children's voices were heard loud and clear by MLAs.

The campaign must go on for, as Plato said: "The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery." That was in 348 BC in Greece.

Surely, in 21st century Ireland, we can guarantee every child the right to a nursery education?

CLLR TIM ATTWOOD (SDLP)

Belfast City Council

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