I was delighted to launch ‘Together for Better’, the new funding model for Early Learning and Childcare on 15th September.

This is the beginning of a new partnership, between the State and providers, bringing better pay for workers, better affordability for parents, and sustainability for providers.

Together for Better brings together the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme, the National Childcare Scheme, and Core Funding which was announced as €221m in Budget 2022. It provides a platform for future investment into the sector, which will reach at least €1bn by 2028.

How will fees come down?

‘Together for Better’ services have agreed that they will not increase their fees above what was charged in September 2021. This means that any future investment into the NCS can be fully felt by parents, helping to alleviate the burden of fees.

More than 90% of services have chosen to come into partnership, to deliver early education and care to children, for the public good. I want to thank each of those providers, ahead of this new journey of working together to deliver world-class service to children and families.

I am also delighted that the scheme began in alignment with the commencement of the Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) for the sector. These EROs will mean that more than 70% of workers will benefit from improved pay – an historic achievement for the sector.