Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who has led this campaign for three years, has reacted with ‘delight’ to the news that the green light has finally been given to Waringstown Nursery School.
Alongside Waringstown parents and children, Mrs Dobson, a member of the Stormont Education Committee, has campaigned on this issue, calling around the houses to raise a petition and continually raising the issue with the SELB and the Minister at Stormont.
Commenting after the announcement she said : “I pay tribute to the hard work and dedication which dozens of Waringstown parents have shown to this cause over the years, it has been a long fight, with a number of setbacks, but today’s announcement is what we have all been fighting for.
"We knocked every single door in the village and received an overwhelming response. Petitions were signed in the local businesses - the Butchers, Chemist and even in the Chip Shop - the whole of the village community united behind a strong and resolute campaign. We took to the streets of Waringstown and every single person signed our petition - I thank each and every village resident and local business for their support.
"Being a resident of the village, with my two boys attending the primary school, I have experienced first-hand the inequality felt by Waringstown parents in relation to not being able to send their children to Nursery School.
“Waringstown Children deserve the same start on the educational ladder as those living in any other town or village across Northern Ireland. said Mrs Dobson “It is clear that attendance at pre-school gives our children the best possible start and for too long Waringstown has been without any statutory nursery provision. This balance I am now happy to say is being redressed.
“I would also like to commend the tireless work of Waringstown Primary School Principal Gary Kennedy and his staff and those staff at the SELB who have worked continually to bring the news we have received today.
“Finally we have the received the recognition for Waringstown which was first sought in 1976 by the Board of Governors at the Primary School. This is fantastic news for the parents and young children of the village and I look forward to seeing the first young pupils attending the nursery in the near future.”