On the News – Article in relation to Pre School funding

You may or may not have seen the Pre School on the BBC NI News on the 22nd November. I just want to briefly explain a bit about what this was in relation to…

This happened as a result of Ms Mulhern’s letter that was sent before Halloween to Politian’s, the Education Authority, the Early Years Trust and many, many more recipients! This led to our District Inspector from the Educational Training Inspectorate making a Pastoral visit and to meet with Ms Mulhern. Last week, Clare Hanna, Matthew O’Toole and Séamas de Faoite from the SDLP party, came to speak with Ms Mulhern in the Pre School as well.

As Ms Mulhern has mentioned to parents before, the reason behind all events draws us back to the disparity between the funding a ‘non-Statutory’ Pre School received from the Education Authority and that compared to what a ‘Statutory’ Nursery School receives. The main issue is if we are providing the exact same service in delivering the Pre School curriculum and inspected as such by the same body (and in fact we are inspected by the Trust as well – Nursery Schools are not) then why do we receive a staggering difference in funding? We are incredibly fortunate that we do get our numbers every year but with Ms Mulhern being the Chairperson of The Early Years Consortium, over the past few years she has tirelessly heard the despair coming from other Pre Schools in their struggles to keep their doors open and pay basis bills, which is a fight for all in the Pre School sector. Ms Mulhern is standing as a representative of the Pre School sector and we are grateful that the Educational Correspondent from the BBC, our District Inspector and the SDLP Party have come forward to hear more about the issues and we only hope that change does come and the sector is valued.