Dismay as children left out of play scheme
CHILDREN are being excluded from a scheme designed to help them when they start school, even though neighbours are being invited to take part, according to a Swansea Valley mum.
Jemma Lewis had hoped her two-year-old son would benefit from the Welsh Government’s Flying Start early years programme, which is targeted at children aged under four in some of Wales’s most deprived areas.
The scheme aims to provide early language development as well as access to parenting programmes and part-time childcare.
But Ms Lewis, who lives on Heol Craigfelen in Clydach, said she had been told that her son would not be eligible for Flying Start, even though others living on the same street were.
She said: “I was told my son would be unable to attend as it is out of the boundaries for Communities First, but if I lived at further along the street, they would welcome him with open arms, help prepare him for school and generally give him the start in life he deserves.
“Out of 124 properties on one street how can it be right to exclude 34 of them?
“The total number of families affected by this decision is two. The number of children who will walk into the classroom on their first day of nursery not prepared, scared, not having already made their group of friends, feeling lost and isolated is three — my son and twins from the same street.
“I can assure you these children are not less disadvantaged than the others a few doors down.
“My children have the exact amount of limited access to services available, which is none.
“This decision is isolating them more from society and gaining a decent education.
“I already have a nine-year-old-son who was failed by the early years foundation phase.
“ I don't want another son to be pushed aside because he's too far behind to hit the targets for the school to look good because he didn't have the preparation and guidance.
“All I want is for my child to have an equal chance in today's education.”