This December, we announced major reforms to the way we fund early learning and childcare in Ireland.
We are setting out a roadmap for transformational change in the early learning and childcare sector, change that will benefit parents, providers, professionals in the sector, and children.
The reforms follow an Expert Group Report on the Funding Model for Early Learning and School-Aged Childcare. It sets out a new departure for the sector, where, in partnership for providers, the State will play an increasing role in the management of the sector for the public good.
What does this mean?
We’ll have a new “core funding” stream for services, worth over €200 million in a full year to support service sustainability, help improve pay and conditions, and manage fees for parents.
We’ll also have a new funding stream dedicated to tackling disadvantage, with universal and targeted supports to providers delivering services to families experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
This month also marks a turning point in recognising the profession’s importance in supporting children’s development, learning & wellbeing.
We’ve published Nurturing Skills – the new Workforce Plan which aims to strengthen the ongoing professionalisation of the sector.
I’d like to thank the Funding Model Expert Group & Steering Group of Nurturing Skills for their work, and all those working in the sector who have dedicated their career to delivering quality early learning & care for children.
The work of the Expert Group on a New Funding Model can be found at https://first5fundingmodel.gov.ie/
The Nurturing Skills Workforce Plan can be read at gov.ie/nurturingskills