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Play Centre (Londonderry)

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the South East Education and Library Board did not allocate the Play Centre at Londonderry Primary School, Newtownards with Preschool Education Advisory Group (PEAG) places for (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04.[118881]

In each Education and Library Board area a Pre-School Education Advisory Group (PEAG) manages the allocation of pre-school places for children in their final pre-school year to settings that have applied to be part of the Pre-School Education Expansion Programme (PSEEP). Although the Play Centre at Londonderry Primary School requested an application form for inclusion in the Pre-School Education Expansion Programme for the 2002–03 school year, it was not returned to the PEAG before the closing date of 23 November 2001. As a result the South Eastern Education and Library Board's PEAG allocated all available places in the Programme to settings that submitted their application on time.Although the Play Centre at Londonderry Primary School again submitted an application for places for 2003–04 the PEAG already had sufficient pre-school places from existing providers to satisfy demand in Newtownards from children in their final pre-school year, including the Glen ward in which the Play Centre is located.The number of pre-school places which the South Eastern Board's Pre-school Education Advisory Group will be funding in Newtownards in 2003–04 will be sufficient to satisfy the demand from children in their final pre-school year. Additional places will only be reallocated to other providers, such as the Play Centre, if existing providers are unable to fill places and then only within the overall needs of the town.