Early years education is offered free to all three-year-olds in Northern Ireland, prior to starting primary school, and most parents take advantage of this offer for their children. An experience of early years education has been shown to considerably improve life chances and to be important in starting the process of building a shared society, particularly important in a divided society emerging from conflict such as Northern Ireland. This paper will examine the degree to which that provision is segregated using GIS analysis and explore the factors which influence those divisions within the wider context of a deeply segregated system of education. Pre-school education in Northern Ireland is found to be highly segregated by community background, and there is a tendency for pre-schools to be more segregated than the areas in which they are located. This may exacerbate existing divisions within education and adding a further year of segregated education may provide a further impediment to building a shared future for communities in Northern Ireland.
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© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Northern Ireland
- early years