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SNAG calls on Govt to change nursery allocations

The Special Needs Action Group has urged the Government to ensure provision for all special needs children in Gibraltar, adding the afternoon nursery allocations are not practical.

The group have received concerns about the afternoon allocations for two year olds starting Early Birds Nursery this September.

SNAG said pre-schoolers in Gibraltar which are a year older all attend morning sessions, and this gives greater regard and consideration to their age.

“Most two year olds nap during these afternoon hours, and these afternoon hours are not practical or conducive to what should be a dedicated early intervention programme,” SNAG said.

“This is not a new issue.”

“The afternoon sessions were introduced in 2011 and parents have been battling all these years to have them changed to morning hours.”

“The opening of a brand new school with the incorporation of this nursery should afford these young children these morning sessions. Forward planning that would have taken into account the rate at which the intake of children has increased in demand would have allowed for a more age appropriate policy in regards to nursery allocation.”

“SNAG is also concerned about the lack of provision and support afforded to these young children at mainstream nurseries, who can not cater for their extra needs.”

“They do not have the provisions in place that ensures that they can access these facilities and enjoy them on an equal basis with their counterparts.”

“They must also be safeguarded with extra provisions, and parents are forced to leave them in settings which are not equipped to deal with their needs to meet their working demands.”

“The Government needs to put support in place for all children with special needs and disabilities in these settings.”

The group added they have also received numerous concerns about the opening and closing hours of Early Birds Nursery and St Martins School which do not match those of all other Government schools in Gibraltar.

The Government considered the needs of working parents in changing these hours to meet the demands of working parents, but SNAG said the Government failed to do so at St Martins School.

“This should not be the case,” SNAG said.
“Parents of children with special needs and disabilities also work, and the good will of their employers stretches up to a certain limit.”

S.N.A.G will write to the relevant Departments this week and ask for these matters to be addressed urgently with the opening of the new school. As the Chief Minister said on our recent View Point Episode - some things can be addressed in the short term, and we believe that these should be tackled with the opening of our new school.

We urge parents affected by the above to write to us directly so that we can make accurate representations.

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