Published Tuesday, 10 April 2012
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Nursery places contested
Interview: Mervyn Storey
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But around 1,500 adults in the region still do not know where, or if, their children will be placed.
Four nursery schools have said they do not have room for Logan Archer, and his mother has spoken out against the current system for favouring those from low income families.
"That gives even younger children preference over my child," said Lee Ann Archer. "I feel that's wrong.
"All children should be treated fairly."
In the South Eastern Education and Library Board area, more than 350 children do not have a place at nursery school, while in Belfast 240 children have missed out.
The shakeup to the preschool admission system was revealed earlier this year and it has left many parents angry.
But Siobhan Fitzpatrick of Early Years said improved provisions are being made for the future.
"There are some pressure points, but we've been able to bring in new nursery school providers for next year," she explained.
In January, the Education Minister said he had added £1.25m to the £50m preschool education budget and John O'Dowd has reiterated that extra cash can be made available if needed.
But Chair of the Education Committee, Mervyn Storey said that is not enough and the policy may discourage employment.
"Many hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet. When they are faced with discriminatory policies such as this they will understandably question the value of being in work.
"This is a bad policy and the Department should move with urgency to address it," he urged.