Girl with heart defect refused nursery place

A BLACKSKULL mother whose daughter has a congenital heart defect has been told there are no school places for either her daughter or son.

Gillian McMullan with children, Lexie (3) and Morgan (4), INLM18-213.

Gillian McMullan’s son Morgan had been a pupil at Donacloney Nursery, but has been told there’s no primary school place for him at the school. His younger sister Lexie, who has a congenital heart defect, has also been left out in the cold, getting refused by all three nursery schools she’d attempted to get into, including her first choice at Donacloney.

Gillian (31) said: “Morgan (who turns five in July) had been in Donacloney Nursery and we’d thought that would have meant he’d get a primary school place there and Lexie (who turns three in May) would have got into nursery. Sadly this criteria has changed and having a child in nursery no longer counts for anything.”

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She added: “Both myself and my husband work. The criteria is not fair for parents who are both working. It’s weighted in favour of people who are underprivileged. The second priority is for children with medical problems.

“I wrote what Lexie’s illness was on the forms but it hasn’t got her in. I have evidence to back up her condition.

Gillian added: “We were offered places in Newry, Portadown and Bangor, but these locations aren’t suitable for us given that we both have to get to work.”

According to Donacloney Principal Lynne Nesbitt the information on Lexie’s nursery application form was not sufficient enough to meet the entry criteria for the school.

The principal said: “I feel for her and all of the ones that didn’t get in. Unfortunately if the criteria is not met the board of governors can’t bend the rules.”