A public consultation seeking views on pre-school admissions has been launched today.

The Department of Education’s Pre-School Education Programme provides every child in their immediate pre-school year (age 3 to 4) the option to have a year’s education.

Currently all pre-school providers are required to give priority to children from ‘Socially Disadvantaged Circumstances’ (as defined by the Department) before considering applications from other children. Approximately 16% of children are currently prioritised in this way.

Peter Weir MLA, Minister for Education, said: “The current legislation requiring priority to be given during pre-school admissions to children from Socially Disadvantaged Circumstances was written over 20 years ago and much has changed since then. 

“Pre-school education is also delivered in sessions of varying lengths, all teaching the same curriculum and being inspected to the same educational standards. 

“This consultation is an important part of the process to ensure that the pre-school admissions process is the best it can be. I welcome all views but would particularly value comments from parents and guardians, pre-school education providers and staff, and stakeholders and organisations working in the pre-school education sector.”

The consultation will run for a 12 week period from 19 April 2021 and is available on the department’s website at: education-ni.gov.uk. The online questionnaire is available at Consultation: pre-school admissions criteria

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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