Every child should have a nursery place

Northern Ireland Environment minister Mark H Durkan of the SDLP, following a meeting at Stormont Castle in Belfast where Stormont ministers have agreed on a draft budget for 2015, one day before the Treasury-imposed deadline. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 30, 2014. The deal, which will see hundreds of millions of pounds being removed from certain governmental departments, was struck at a meeting at Stormont Castle in Belfast. See PA story ULSTER Politics. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Northern Ireland Environment minister Mark H Durkan of the SDLP, following a meeting at Stormont Castle in Belfast where Stormont ministers have agreed on a draft budget for 2015, one day before the Treasury-imposed deadline. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 30, 2014. The deal, which will see hundreds of millions of pounds being removed from certain governmental departments, was struck at a meeting at Stormont Castle in Belfast. See PA story ULSTER Politics. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has called on the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, to introduce legislation that would give every child a statutory right to a pre-school place.

Mr Durkan’s call comes as many parents across the North struggle to secure a place for their child in a local nursery school.

“We are faced with this issue every year with frustrated parents unable to secure a suitable nursery place for their child. Despite the fact that this problem rears its head every year, the Education Minister has not tackled it. We know how critical early years are to a child’s development. Early interventions can help them overcome significant challenges and reach their full potential. A place in a suitably located nursery school is vital to ensuring that children are not disadvantaged at this critical point in their development.”