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Speaking out over pre-school place debacle

When are we going to take our children's development seriously? Again, this year, we see 1,500 children have been left without a pre-school place and parents have been left in limbo.

The Education Minister, John O'Dowd, and his department tell us that it is okay and they have lots of extra places for anyone who wants to apply again. What they don't say is that these places could be up to 30 miles away.

As a parent affected by this last year, I would ask any parent, or relative, who wants to join us to campaign and challenge the Minister of Education to come along to our public meeting on Thursday, May 3, at St Mary's Teaching Training College on the Falls Road in Belfast (7pm).

Our group, Local Kids 1st, want all children in their communities to have a fair chance when applying for a pre-school place and welcome everyone from all regions of Northern Ireland to attend and share their views about the situation.

Around 1,500 families are now facing tough choices, trying to ensure their children have the best possible start in life and, again, the department and the minister have hindered this.

If you would like more information, or, indeed, if you would like support to help start up your own parent group in your area, please e-mail


Chairperson, Local Kids 1st

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From Belfast Telegraph