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Convent of Mercy Nursery, Folly Lane, Downpatrick, County Down
Illnesses We are aware that there are a number of viral infections & tummy bugs in the local community.  If a child has vomited or had diarrhoea they must wait 48hrs from the last incident before returning to school.  If your child is unwell for any other reason please inform the school promptly so we can plan together for their return to school.
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Consultation on Applying for a Nursery Place (closes on Friday 16th July)

13th Jul 2021

THERE IS CURRENTLY A CONSULTATION REGARDING NURSERY PLACES -  examples of the consultation include - the time of the Nursery session - THERE IS CONCERN THAT THIS COULD BE REDUCED TO 2.5 HOURS INSTEAD OF 4.5 and the ADMISSIONS CRITERIA - this is the first review of the admissions criteria in 20 years. This consultation would allow you to share your views on the use of the social disadvantaged criteria, comment on how you found the online portal or if you wanted to delay the start of your child starting P1.



We welcome the opportunity to review the admission criteria yet have the following concerns:

  • Concerned that it is unclear in this consultation if the aim is that all children will get a part time or full time place.  If we are to address social disadvantage surely all children should be entitled to a full time place.   When children start a full time Nursery place it is often the first opportunity for parents to return to their own education or work therefore supporting the whole community. 
  • There is a need for clarify regarding those children whose parents wish to delay their P1 start.  If their parents wish for them to stay another year in nursery how would this be addressed?  Do they get priority to stay another year? Or are they only entitled to one year of nursery? Can they delay their nursery year?
  • There is an urgent need for investment in Special School Early Years placements as within the local Down area there has been significant issues regarding placements for pre school children for many years. 
  • There will need to be a review of the local provision and significant investment in workforce and infrastructure will be necessary to achieve this.  We are concerned the consultation does not contain detail as to how DE intends this to be implemented
  • It is also essential that the Department consults with educational professionals and in particular school leaders on their proposed Childcare Strategy. DE must provide a draft timescale for implementation as many of the issues raised in this consultation have cross over implications.


Consultation description



Ways to respond