Pre-school Review 2004 - A fresh start for early years

Northern Ireland children will have the best possible start to life as the Department of Education takes the lead in early years policy.

Focus of early years provision in Northern Ireland

More integrated and family friendly services will be the focus of early years provision here. From 2007, the Education Department will oversee Sure Start. In addition, the new arrangements arising from the Review of Public Administration will also provide more coordinated services in this area.

Speaking during a visit to Edenderry Nursery School, Education Minister Angela Smith said: “The value of getting children ready to start school is well recognised and research tells us clearly that children benefit from the experiences they have in a high quality pre-school environment.

There is already a wealth of good practice in pre-school across Northern Ireland and in partnership, we can ensure those benefits are available to all our children.”

Government will also move to implement immediately other key recommendations from the report on the Review of Pre-school provision launched today.

These include:

  • action to ensure that the learning and development settings available for children are those most suitable for their age
  • action to address key issues including facilities and resources, training and support and special educational needs

These actions draw on the Effective Pre-School Provision in Northern Ireland research findings also launched today.

In conclusion, the Minister said:  “I want to see every child has the best possible start in life and children and families at the centre of what we do.  

Opportunities at the pre-school stage are as important as those at other stages in a child’s educational life and the government is committed to providing quality choices to those parents who wish their child to participate in a pre-school environment.”

You can access the final outcomes document using the link below:

The Department of Education consulted on the future of pre-school education between June and October 2004. The Department published documents to enable interested parties to respond to the consultation. These are still available for reference.

Review papers:

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