Press Release

Assembly Education Committee Calls For Cross-Departmental Early Years Children's Strategy

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Monday, 06 December 2010

Reference: EDU 04/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education today called for a fully integrated cross-departmental Early Years Children’s Strategy. The Committee Chair, Mervyn Storey MLA, led a debate on the Committee’s motion in the Assembly. The motion [1] called on the Minister of Education to develop an Early Years Children’s Strategy and Action Plan which integrates provision for the social, care and educational needs of young children from pre-birth to age six .

The Committee for Education agreed to table the motion to allow MLAs to debate the issues raised at a recent Committee for Education event [2] to discuss concerns with the Department of Education’s draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy.

Committee Chair, Mervyn Storey MLA, who led the debate, said:

“When the Department published the Draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy members of the Committee and key stakeholders raised major concerns about it. Many raised the concern that the Strategy did not address the integration of the social, care and educational needs of children, particularly in the 0-3 age group. Senior Department of Education officials acknowledged this when it was raised at the Committee event last month. The Committee’s motion today calls on the Minister to lead on the development of a truly cross-departmental and holistic Early Years Children’s Strategy and Action Plan for children from pre-birth to age 6.”

Mr Storey added: “ The Committee hopes that today’s debate on this motion will convince both the Assembly and the Minister of Education of not only the need for such a Strategy but also of the need for an Action Plan to ensure timely implementation.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The terms of the motion are as follows:

‘That this Assembly notes the Early Years (0-6) Strategy consultation by the Department of Education and the comments of stakeholders; agrees that there is a clear need for a cross-departmental and holistic approach to early years provision; and calls on the Minister of Education to develop a cross-departmental and holistic Early Years Children’s Strategy and Action Plan which will fully integrate provision for the social, care and educational needs of young children from pre-birth to age six.’

2. The Assembly Committee for Education hosted an event on Wednesday 17 November. The event was designed to give stakeholders and parents the chance to voice their concerns directly to Department of Education officials on the Department’s Draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy. The event was attended by 160 stakeholders.

Committee Membership:

Mr. Mervyn Storey (Chairperson) 
Mr. David Hilditch (Deputy Chairperson) 
Mr. Dominic Bradley 
Mrs. Mary Bradley 
Mr. Jonathan Craig 
Sir Reg Empey 
Mr. Trevor Lunn 
Mr. Basil McCrea 
Miss. Michelle McIlveen 
Mr. John O’Dowd 
Ms. Michelle O’Neill

The Clerk to the Committee is John Simmons 
Committee for Education, Rm 242, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont Belfast BT4 3XX 
Tel: 028 9052 1787 
Mob: 07900 053929 
Fax: 028 9052 1371 
Email: john.simmons@niassembly.gov.uk

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