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

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 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.”

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