Belfast Telegraph

Shortage of nursery places

A local councillor has claimed that the lack of nursery school provision in east Belfast is becoming a “crisis”.

The UUP’s Jim Rodgers said large numbers of children are having to travel to other parts of the city as local schools are full.

This comes as the deadline for nursery school applications for next year passed.

Parents in east Belfast had been urged to apply for a nursery place earlier this year due to changes made to the nursery admissions process for the incoming academic year.

Mr Rodgers said: “We have a large number of children who are unable to get a place locally. It’s just not practical.

“This is a matter for the Department of Education; there is plenty of space in schools which could accommodate more children.

“It’s becoming a crisis. I would ask the department to look at this and see what can be done. We need more nursery care provision in east Belfast.”

But Castlereagh councillor Judith Cochrane said there were “positive changes” to tackle the problem. She added:

“Naomi Long MP and I had suggested some simple changes to the minister which could be made to ensure the admissions process would prioritise those children in their final pre-school year.

“We were delighted that the minister last year accepted these proposals, and we have been campaigning to tackle oversubscription for pre-school places for a long time.”

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