Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has said he will “keep the pressure on the Sinn Fein education minister to ensure parents get their preferred choice of pre-school places in the Ballycastle area”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip, issued his statement after receiving two written responses from the schools minister on the issue.
Mr Swann had asked the Minister of Education how many children in the Ballycastle area were not offered a pre-school place in the last round of applications.
The Minister responded to Mr Swann stating: “The North Eastern Education and Library Board has advised that, of the 90 children who applied at stage one of the pre-school application process for a place in a pre-school setting in the Ballycastle area, two remained unplaced at the end of stage one on 4 April.
“Places remain available in the area for stage two of the process and parents of unplaced children were invited to submit further preferences by 30 April.
“For 2012/13 and 2013/14 admissions 99.8% of children whose parents stayed with the process were offered a funded place in a setting they had requested. Letters advising the outcome of stage two will be issued on Friday 30 May 2014,” stated the Minister.
Mr Swann had also asked the Minister of the 88 children placed, how many were placed in their first preference location?
Responding, the Minister stated: “The North Eastern Education and Library Board has advised that, of the 88 children offered a funded place at stage one of the pre-school admissions process, 81 were offered a place in their first preference setting.”
Following the Ministerial answers, Mr Swann commented: “I will be keeping the pressure on the Minister to ensure as many parents as possible have the chance to get their first preference location for their children as this is a vitally important step in many children’s education.”