309 kids refused by first choice nurseries

OVER 300 children failed to secure their first choice nursery school places in Londonderry this year and 16 currently remain unplaced as their parents have declined to nominate further preferences, the Education Minister John O’Dowd has revealed.

Mr O’Dowd stated: “The Western Education and Library Board have advised that 309 children in the Derry City Council area did not receive their first preference nursery school, in the first round of places awarded (i.e. at the end of Stage 1 of the pre-school admissions processes), for the 2012/13 academic year.”

He made the revelation in response to an Assembly Question tabled by Foyle MLA Mark H. Durkan.

“Of these, 198 were placed in second or further preference schools leaving 111 unplaced at the end of Stage 1. Further preferences were requested from parents and all but 16 children were subsequently placed,” stated the Minister.

“The 16 children remain unplaced as their parents declined to nominate further preferences. There are no nursery places currently available, however, places could be made available to voluntary/community providers, if they have the capacity,” he added.