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  • Northside East

Local playschool facing closure

Monday, 11th March, 2019 8:00am
Local playschool facing closure

Ciara’s Community Playschool in Belmayne is facing closure.

Local playschool facing closure

Ciara’s Community Playschool in Belmayne is facing closure.

Callum Lavery 

A NORTHSIDE woman has vowed to fight tooth and nail to keep her playschool open.

Clarehall local Ciara Ryan is working tirelessly to keep Ciara’s Community Playschool in Belmayne operating after being “shocked” to learn that it may close in April.

The playschool is currently part of St Francis of Assisi Primary School in Belmayne which is moving to a new purpose built school. 

However, Ms Ryan has been informed that there is no room in the new building for her playschool.

Ms Ryan said she was shocked to learn that her playschool may close down after running it for the past eight years. She believes the school has grown due to the work she has done during her time in Belmayne. 

“The numbers in the area have grown significantly and they have built a new school for St Francis to move into,” she told Northside People. 

“This is fantastic. However, despite the fact that the playschool has been with the school almost since day one, there is no room for the playschool in the new building.

“I have pleaded with the board of management to help me keep the playschool within the school grounds even in a prefab.

“We started in the school when it opened. I’ve had all the children up to confirmation.”

Local residents are also saddened to hear about the playschool’s possible closure. Local mother Sandra McKevitt sent two of her children to the school and said playschools like Ciara’s should not be closed down.

“My oldest son, now 10-years-old, went to Ciara’s Playschool and now my daughter goes,” said Ms McKevitt. 

“It is impossible to find an alternative placement for her. We need more community playschools, not less. 

“Myself and many of the parents with Ciara and staff have come together to ask the school to reverse its decision and keep the playschool open.”

Principal of the school Assumpta Kerrins said: “Speaking on behalf of the board of management of St Francis of Assisi Primary School, Belmayne, the arrangement with Ciara's Community Playschool has always been on a year to year basis and it has been known for some time now and by all parties, that we would not be in a position to host Ciara's Community Playschool when we moved into our new purpose-built school building.

“There is a record of communications to Ciara Ryan, including a letter dating back to May 19th 2017, indicating that this would be the case. 

“The Department of Education and Skills does not provide space for pre-school education within primary schools. 

“This being the regrettable situation, the board's priority must be the welfare of, and working conditions for, the pupils and staff of the school. We wish Ciara’s Community Playschool every success in the future.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education echoed the statement on behalf of the board of management. 

It said it is currently building the new primary school, but the construction of accommodation for a private school like Ciara’s is not their priority. 

“The Department is aware that the privately-owned playschool is currently operating in St Francis of Assisi Primary School’s existing accommodation,” said a spokesperson for the Department. 

“This appears to be an initiative of the primary school and the Department is not party to this arrangement.

“The Department is constructing a new permanent replacement school for the primary school and the project is nearing completion.  

“The Department’s priority is the provision of accommodation for children of school-going age. 

“The Department does not have any remit for the provision of a building for this playschool.”

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