O’Dowd rejects proposal for new nursery unit for Holy Cross Girls’ PS, Belfast

Date published: 11 February 2016

Education Minister John O’Dowd has turned down a development proposal to establish a statutory nursery unit at Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School, Belfast.

Speaking about his decision, the Minister said:

“The success of the Pre-School Education Programme (PSEP) is due, in part, to the flexibility in capacity and location of pre-school places afforded by the voluntary and private sectors.  It is also my Department’s practice not to displace existing good quality provision in the voluntary/private sector with statutory provision.

‘I am satisfied that the pre-school education needs in this area are being met by the existing pre-school playgroup and that approval of this proposal would have reduced the flexibility currently offered by the PSEP in the medium to longer term.

“For these reasons, I have turned down this proposal.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. On 17 September 2015, the Education Authority (EA) published DP 425 on behalf of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS). The proposal aimed to establish a 26 part-time place nursery unit at Holy Cross Girls’ Primary School, Belfast. The two month statutory objection period for this proposal ended on 17 November 2015.
  2.  Play and Learn Playgroup is the associated pre-school provider which is located in the Holy Cross Girls’ school building. It is registered with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and currently offers 24 funded places. Approval of this proposal would have resulted in the Playgroup’s closure.
  3. The Department (DE) values statutory and voluntary/private pre-school provision equally as they must both meet equally exacting standards.  It is the Department’s practice not to displace existing good quality provision.  There is an adequate supply of pre-school provision in the immediate area and projected demand would not justify any expansion at this time.
  4. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.


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