Statement re: 60 schools in Northern Ireland have lost funding to run schemes for disadvantaged children in 2018/19

Acknowledging the concern from parents and schools today that 60 Northern Ireland schools will lose funding to run breakfast and homework clubs, Aoife Hamilton, Policy & Information Manager at Employers For Childcare commented:

“Employers For Childcare recognises this news will come as a shock for the parents and schools involved. The news is also untimely given we are fast approaching the end of the academic year and parents will now have to find alternative childcare arrangements in a short space of time.

“For many parents here, wraparound services such as breakfast and after school clubs are essential in allowing them to combine their work commitments with their parenting responsibilities.  Our latest Childcare Cost Survey report highlighted a specific issue with school-age children, with over half of parents (51%) identifying a lack of afterschool clubs, and 35 per cent a lack of breakfast club provision.  So, today’s announcement that more than 60 schools are set to lose out on funding for these essential services is particularly concerning.”

“Every year, our Childcare Cost Survey highlights how a lack of affordable and accessible childcare presents a significant barrier for parents in returning to, or continuing in employment. Today’s announcement reiterates Employers For Childcare’s position that Northern Ireland’s childcare infrastructure needs immediate and strategic investment – childcare should not be treated as a side issue but as an economic and social priority so that parents can get into and stay in work”.

Aoife concludes: “If you have been affected by this announcement and would like information on the support available, call our Family Benefits Advice Service (FBAS) on 028 9267 8200.  Our FBAS team can provide tailored information and advice on a wide range of childcare and work-related issues.”