Pre‐school education in Northern Ireland has a history stretching back almost 100 years, to 1928. Information on the early development of provision here has been summarised by Sheelagh Carville, Head of Early Childhood Studies, Stranmillis, here.
Pre-School Education Expansion Programme
In 1998, there were approximately 11,100 funded pre-school education places available in Northern Ireland, which meant that only 45% of children in their immediate pre-school year could access a funded place.
In response to increasing demand from parents for pre-school provision, the Pre-School Education Expansion Programme (PSEEP) was established in April 1998 by the then Minister for Education, Tony Worthington who launched a government initiative to increase the investment in early learning in Northern Ireland – see link below.
The PSEEP expansion phase ended in 2012, when sufficient provision had been secured to ensure a funded pre-school education place for every target aged child whose parents wanted it. The programme (now called the Pre-School Education Programme or PSEP) is a universally available non-compulsory early education service targeted at children in their immediate pre-school year. The PSEP has been developed and grown considerably since 1998 with approximately 23,000 children participating in the pre-school admissions process and attending funded pre-school provision each year.
Other Suggested Reading
- Draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy Consultation
- Review of Pre-School Admissions Arrangements
- Pre-school Review 2004 - A fresh start for early years