Seeley calls for early intervention in education
In her maiden Assembly speech Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Seeley called for an increased spend on early care and childhood development.
The Upper Bann MLA said:
“Intervention should take place as early as possible – particularly whereby the child has been identified as vulnerable. We must shift the focus from crisis intervention to prevention and early intervention.
“Many harder to reach children, particularly vulnerable two year olds, remain under the radar - intervention coming so late its impact is significantly weakened.
“We must redirect resources to ensure intervention happens as early as possible for those who need it most.
“Early intervention provides us with a key opportunity to shape the North’s future. It is a strong platform for future success – creating smarter, safer, healthier and wealthier societies - crucial if we are to break the cycles of poverty and inequality.
“We must address the needs of those children whose lives opportunities and ambitions are threatened by poverty, poor health, poor attainment and unemployment.
“We must prove flexible - responsive to the needs of our children – irrespective of age, race, religion, gender.
“We must increase spend on early care and childhood development to bring the North into line with international/OECD standards. Efforts must be made to strengthen support for parents – particularly those parents living in poverty.”
The former teacher and party spokesperson on childcare, children and young people paid tribute to previous Minister of Education, John O’Dowd.
“I would like to commend the previous Minister of Education – Mr. John O’Dowd – who we owe huge gratitude to for his unprecedented level of investment in early years education. I hope the new Minister of Education will place similar emphasis on early years given the benefits to the child and to wider society.”