Early Years funding concern

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SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat has voiced his concern that Early Years projects in East Derry will not be properly funded following cuts to the education budget.

The total funding needed for Early Years projects in Coleraine and Limavady totals £222,033, the largest being £48,965 for West Bann and £46,096 for Lifestart, Limavady.

Mr Dallat, who has supported the Early Years Fund from its inception, said:

“The Early Years Fund is a valuable resource for children who need additional support if they are to have a real chance of leaving school on the same footing as other pupils.

“The Early Years Fund is now under serious threat with profound consequences which will destroy the great progress made by this campaign to address serious issues relating to literacy and numeracy.

“This Assembly promised equality to all the people of Northern Ireland. That does not mean equal disadvantage between Catholics and Protestants.

“The standard of education for our children is something which cannot be sacrificed on the altar of austerity designed to satisfy the whims of a ruthless Tory government in Westminster.

“The SDLP is totally committed to defending those at the margins who are most affected by a catalogue of cutbacks which are at best misguided and at worst a brutal attack on the people that government are supposed to help. If this funding is not forthcoming there will be dreadful consequences for some of the most deserving parents and children in East Derry.”