The DCYA has attended the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) which met this morning to plan for severe weather conditions expected later this week.

DCYA is asking childcare services to be aware of local weather warnings and travel restrictions that may affect their service.

We encourage childcare services and parents to visit the Winter Ready website for advice (www.winterready.ie) and make the appropriate preparations to minimise disruptions.

The safety and welfare of children, providers, staff and parents is paramount and should be carefully considered by each service.

Should conditions worsen throughout the week childcare providers affected by the weather conditions should note that Clause 12 of the Grant Agreement for DCYA programmes refers to Force Majeure and the fact that services forced to close will be paid for children registered for current schemes.

In the event that you must invoke Force Majeure, please download and complete the Force Majeure form from PIP and send onwards to pipdocuments@pobal.ie within four weeks.

Should you require support with this process please contact Online Support by emailingonlinesupport@pobal.ie or call 01 511 7222

DCYA will continue to update the sector via PIP updates and communication with stakeholders throughout this weather event. We ask that services in turn keep parents updated of the situation in their area. Please stay safe throughout these adverse conditions.

Capital Grants 2018 Open for Applications

€6.8m Grants open for extra Childcare spaces, play areas and maintenance

 Monday 12th February – Friday 9th March

 

Monday 12th February, 2018

Childcare centres are being invited to apply for €6.8m in funding for extra spaces, natural outdoor play areas and maintenance work, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Applications open today (12th February 2018) for childcare and school age services to apply for the capital grants across a range of strands.

 Making the announcement Minister Zappone added

“This year we will invest €485 million, an increase of 80% over the last three budgets, to continue working towards accessible affordable quality childcare.

On the capital grants in particular, I know from my visits to services throughout the country how important it is that we continue to invest and build the infrastructure and capacity of the early years sector.

The inclusion of natural outdoor play areas in particular is allowing our children to explore more and seek adventure in a learning environment. I am delighted to support this work with a significant capital investment – which will benefit children, parents and providers in the coming months.

I encourage all providers to see how the funding can be used to boost or improve their existing services and facilities.”

The application window for the 2018 Early Years and School Age Capital Grants opened today Monday 12th February at 12.00am. Services can apply through the PIP system for the next four weeks, until 3.00pm on Friday 9th March.

The Minister has previously outlined the €6.86 million to be spent across Early Year and School Age Childcare under five funding strands as follows:

Purpose of grant Max. Grant available
Strand 1 (Early Years) Expansion/New €50,000
Strand 2 (Early Years) Essential Maintenance (Community only) €20,000
Strand 3 (Early Years) Natural outdoor play area €7,000
Strand 4 (School Age) Expansion/New €20,000
Strand 5 (School Age) Essential Maintenance (Community only) €10,000

Detailed guidelines on how to apply are available on PIP and services are encouraged to contact their local City / County Childcare Committee (CCC) for any additional support or advice on their application.

Capital 2018 Applicant Guidelines

Change in recruitment policy for future Tusla Early Years Inspectors

Minister Zappone announces change in recruitment policy for future Tusla Early Years Inspectors

February 2, 2018

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone has today (Friday 2nd February, 2018) announced that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Tusla – the Child and Family Agency and the INMO (representing Public Health Nurses) have reached an agreement at the Labour Court regarding the future recruitment of Early Years Inspectors within Tusla. Tusla is responsible for inspecting pre-schools, play groups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years.

To date, EY Inspector positions have required candidates to be registered as a Public Health Nurse and hold a QQI Level 9 qualification (Masters Level). Changes to the Early Years Care and Education sector in recent years and the increasing professionalisation of that workforce had led to calls for a broadening of eligibility to the post of Early Years Inspector. The recent Labour Court recommendation will allow various professions to apply for these posts, including for the first time graduates from Early Years Care and Education, as well as candidates with suitable qualifications in social care, social work, psychology and education. 20% of the childcare workforce now holds a degree.

Minister Zappone welcomed the Labour Court recommendation saying:-


“This development reflects the on-going professionalisation of the Early Years sector. The broadening of criteria for the recruitment of Inspectors will complement and strengthen the great work that Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate has been progressing in recent years. The last 18 months has seen massive steps forward in our goal to transform childcare in Ireland. I welcome the recommendation of the Labour Court and recognise that it marks another milestone in the professionalisation of the sector and the development of high quality, accessible services for children and families.” 

Minister Zappone secured an increase of 7% in capitation to providers of the free pre-school scheme or

ECCE in the recent budget, which commences this September. Further increases are available for services that complete training as part of the Minister’s initiative to make childcare services more accessible to children with disabilities (AIM). An Independent Review into the Cost of Delivery of Quality Childcare is currently underway by Crowe Howarth.

For more information visit the DCYA website here.

Review of Education-Focused Inspections


Minister Bruton and Minister Zappone publish Review of Education-Focused Inspections of Early Years

January 31, 2018

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone today published a report on the quality of educational provision in early year’s settings.
The report draws from the findings of 867 inspections conducted nationally on providers delivering the state funded Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Free Preschool Programme. These inspections were undertaken to specifically evaluate the quality of children’s learning and development within these settings.

The report confirms that there has been a strong welcome for early years education-focused inspection. These inspections have strengthened the Government’s commitment to provide every child with enriching, enjoyable early childhood experiences and have validated the professionalism and commitment of the early year’s workforce.

These inspections also provide robust, authentic information to parents and policymakers about what has been achieved and what still needs to be addressed in the delivery of high quality early education.

Key insights:

  • Almost all Early Years services provide warm, welcoming and safe environments for children and have very good relationships with parents and families.
  • Many services provide a rich range of learning experiences and are providing children with enjoyable, play-based opportunities that promote the development of important learning dispositions and skills such as curiosity, persistence, independence and empathy.
  • Challenges were also identified including; the need for providers to work closely in partnership with parents to support and extend children’s learning and the potential for improving how providers use existing resources such as Aistear and Síolta.

The Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will consider all of the report’s recommendations and work with providers on achieving any improvements identified. Follow-through inspections will be carried out to further assess the quality of early year’s education provision and practice and to assess progress on areas identified as needing improvement.

In publishing the report Minister Richard Bruton said,

“This is a very valuable report as it highlights, for the first time, the learning experiences and achievements of children in preschool. It is widely agreed that these early education experiences are critical to young children’s early learning and development and foundational for their lifelong educational achievement. We are committed to making Ireland the best education system in Europe and the contribution of early childhood education has an important role to play in achieving this goal. In partnership with my cabinet colleague Minister Katherine Zappone, we have made good progress in establishing a better understanding of the strengths and challenges of current provision and practice in preschools. We are fully committed to continuing our collaboration to respond to the findings of this report and put in place the conditions for future development and improvement.

Minister Zappone echoed these ambitions stating,

“I very much welcome the publication of this report into the quality of children’s early education experiences in the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme, funded by my Department. In addition to increasing the Government’s investment in providing affordable and accessible early years services for all our children, I am especially determined to work to ensure that this provision is of the highest possible quality. The collaboration between my department and the department of education and skills and the Inspectorate has been very important in this regard. The insights offered in this report will ensure that all those who are invested in the delivery of high quality early education and care for our youngest citizens understand the challenges and opportunities that we must address if we are to continue to encourage improvement in quality. On behalf of the Government and my own Department I am very pleased to make a continued commitment to this important endeavour into the future.”

The full report is available to download here.

For more information see the Department of Education Website.

Guidelines for Early Years and School Age Capital Funding

Guidelines for Early Years and School Age Capital Funding

February 2, 2018

Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has today announced the publication of application guidelines for the 2018 Early Years and School Age Childcare Capital programmes. These guidelines are to assist providers in making their applications, including a detailed breakdown of funding streams and information on how to apply. This follows the general announcements of programme details made in 2017.

The Early Years and School Age Capital programmes will open for applications from Monday February 12th and close on Friday March 9th. Further information on the programmes and information on how to make an application is available to providers through the Pobal Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP). In addition, providers interested in making an application are encouraged to contact their local City/Country Childcare Committee (CCC) for advice and support.

In order to streamline the application process, early years and school age childcare providers will apply for funding using a single application form on PIP.

Extensive details of the below strands of funding are also included in the guidelines released today:
· Strand 1: Early Years Expansion/New
· Strand 2: Early Years Essential Building Maintenance (Community services only)
· Strand 3: Early Years Natural Outdoor Play Area
· Strand 4: School Age Expansion/New
· Strand 5: School Age Essential Building Maintenance & Quality (Community services only)

 Capital 2018 Applicant Guidelines

 The timeline for the Early Years and School Age Capital 2018 programmes is as follows:

Actions

Key Dates

Application Guidelines

31st January 2018

Go live date for applications

12th February 2018

Closing date for applications

9th March 2018

Appraisals

March-April 2018

Decisions

May 2018

Notification of Outcomes

Issued by end of May 2018

For more information see the DCYA Website.