Written Answers. - Early Start Programme.

Joe Costello

Question:

151 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Education the plans, if any, she has to extend the early start programme to Saint Gabriel's girls and boys national school, Cowper Street, Dublin 7. [8737/96]

I have no plans at present to extend the Early Start pre-school programme to the schools mentioned by the Deputy.

The Early Start pre-school programme is currently focused on schools serving areas which have been identified as being particularly disadvantaged.

The programme has been expanded in the current school year with the extension of the service to an additional 33 schools. This brings the total number of pre-school classes now in place to fifty-six.
I have also established an expert monitoring committee to advise me on the operation and future development of the Early Start pre-school programme. This committee is representative of a wide range of interests involved in the provision of pre-school services. The needs of the schools referred to by the Deputy will be considered in the context of any future development of the programme.