This section includes information on a wide range of Topics relevant to those operating Early Years Childcare Services.
If you are thinking of setting up a Childcare Service Carlow CCC can support you. Contact Carlow CCC on 059 9140244 and we will arrange Start Up Meeting for you with one of our Development Officers who will walk you through all your options.
TUSLA EARLY YEARS NEWSLETTER
The Tusla Inspectorate have published their new Early Years Newsletter.
Early Years is an overarching term that includes Pre-School Services. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is responsible for inspecting pre-schools, playgroups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years.
This document was prepared based on questions submitted from Early Years Service Providers, Childcare organisations and County and City Childcare Committees. The aim of the document is to assist the sector to understand the regulatory requirement and assist in compliance.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) operate a number of Childcare Schemes. These schemes provide free or reduced rate childcare to eligible children and their parents as outlined below:
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):
This programme is a universal childcare programme otherwise known as ‘free pre-school’ with the stated objective of providing children with their first formal experience of early learning. The programme is delivered to children of pre-school age (2 years 8 months to 5 years 6 months) prior to commencing primary school.
From September 2018, all children within the relevant age bracket will be entitled to 76 weeks of the scheme (2 full academic years). The ECCE programme is provided for 3 hours per day, 5 days per week over 38 weeks per year. The programme generally runs in line with the primary school year, which is September to June. A capitation rate is paid directly to participating childcare services by Pobal. There is no charge to parents for the childcare hours provided under the ECCE scheme. However, if a child attends for extra hours outside of ECCE, then charges for the extra time will apply.
To avail of the ECCE programme with effect from
Children must have been born between the following dates (both dates inclusive)
September 2018 – June 2019
1st January 2014 – 31st December 2015
September 2019 – June 2020
1st January 2015 – 31st December 2016
September 2020 – June 2021
1st January 2016 – 31st December 2017
There is also an ECCE calculator on our home page for your use.
Community Childcare Subvention (CCS): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in community childcare services
Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in private childcare services and community childcare services who have children registered after the snapshot period (please see below for dates of snapshot period) and for those children aged between 6 months and 3 years under universal childcare subvention funding
Community Childcare Subvention Universal (CCSU): All families are eligible for financial childcare support for children between the ages of six months and the time at which they are eligible for the free pre-school programme. This subsidy will NOT be means tested and therefore will be available for families at any income level. To qualify the parent must provide both the child and parent PPS number to the childcare provider.
Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CSSR): This programme provides childcare support to Programme Refugees to support their resettlement and integration into Irish society
Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CSSR(T)): As part of the “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” the DCYA has provided access to free childcare for children of families experiencing homelessness
Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Programmes: These programmes provide childcare funding support for parents participating in eligible ETB/Solas vocational training courses, Community Employment (CE) programmes or returning to employment.
Each service is obliged to supply a fees list which would show you what you will pay for your childcare. You should also receive a service calendar which will state the days that the service will be closed.
What is PIP?
The Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP) is an online system which aims to streamline the administrative processes across the three national childcare funding programmes (ECCE, TEC and CCS). PIP is an integrated web-accessible system which has been designed to enhance the service experience of childcare service providers and the other stakeholders involved; City/County Childcare Committees, Pobal and DCYA.
Services can log-on, complete and view all their service details in one accessible place. PIP allows services to:
• Register children for each applicable funding programme
• Check whether places have been approved
• Appeal decisions
• Register transfers
• Submit Tax Clearance Certs (TCCs)
• View payment status
Pobal are continually updating the Frequently asked question section of the PIP website to assist you in your preparations and keep you informed. It is important to check in regularly to keep your service up to date on any new announcement.
Regular updates are available from Pobal on the PIP Homepage
Contact your local CCC or the PIP Online Support Team (Monday to Friday) at email@example.com or phone 01 – 5117222. Please have your DCYA Reference number/s ready.
Early-Years Education-focused Inspections (EYEIs)
Early-Years Education-focused Inspections are carried out by the Department of Education in early-years services participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme – a programme which provides a period of free early childhood care and education for children before they start school.
During these inspections, the quality of the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE Programme is evaluated. The main activity of an EYEI inspection is the observation, by the inspector, of the processes and practices relating to children’s learning in one or more learning rooms or areas in the early years setting.
At the end of each inspection, the early-years practitioners and the owners/managers (where available) are provided with feedback on the quality of educational provision in the setting. Subsequently, a written report will be forwarded to the pre-school inspected outlining the inspection findings and providing advice as to how educational provision in the setting can be developed further or improved.
The inspection report is published on the Department of Education website:
Pobal is contracted, on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), to conduct compliance visits with each participating childcare service who operates one or more of the National Childcare Programmes:
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme
Training and Education Childcare (TEC) Programme
Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Programme
CCS Plus Programme
Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CCSR) Programme
Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CCSR(T)) Programme
The purpose of the Compliance Visit is to verify that:
The children who have been registered with the DCYA under one of the childcare programmes are actually enrolled in and attending the service.
The service is implementing the correct Fee Payment Policy.
The Fee Payment Policy, Parent Letters (where applicable) and Calendars (where applicable) are displayed in the service and that a copy signed by the parent/guardian of each child is on file.
Records are maintained of optional extra charges, deposits, voluntary donations and/or fees for additional hours and are in accordance with the Fee Payment Policy of the service.
The service can show the qualifications of all staff working directly with children.
For the 2017/18 cycle, there are some revisions to the Compliance function, which may have implications for services, i.e.
Service outcomes are now categorised as one of four categories: Compliant; Special Advisory; Minor Non-Compliant; Major Non-Compliant. Services will still be required to sign-off on the compliance findings on the day of the visit, with formal categorisation notification forwarded in due course to the designated primary contact e-mail address on the PIP system.
Attendance records must now contain the following information: Child’s name; Date of attendance; Arrival time; Departure time.
CCS services must now update PIP with details of all “replacement” children as “CCS Not Funded” registrations.
If a service receives a major non-compliant outcome, they can be subject to a 2nd visit with a view to establishing if the issue identified has been rectified.
We advise services to maintain a compliance folder/file which can be made readily available to the visiting officer on arrival. This will ensure minimum disruption and speed up the compliance visit. We understand that some services file their records in other ways, but records must be available to enable the visiting officer to complete the compliance visit in a reasonable timescale. There should always be a staff member on site with access to the compliance folder/records in the event of an unannounced visit.
Please see the link to the service provider file checklist on the PIP homepage which will help you to compile the relevant information to meet compliance requirements. This checklist now contains a separate section for each of the Early Years programmes.
It’s important to note that the on-site compliance visit does not constitute an in-depth audit of accounting records, internal controls or corporate governance arrangements.
Please see link below to the Pobal Compliance Checklist available on the PIP Homepage. This checklist is intended to assist services in collating the relevant information to meet compliance requirements. Please note that this checklist now contains a separate section for each of the Early Years programmes.
Please click below link to Compliance Service Provider Checklist 2017-2018.
Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It provides information for adults to help them plan for and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences, so that all children can grow and develop as competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others. The four main goals of Aistear is to support a child’s sense of Well-being, Identity and belonging, exploring and thinking, communicating. Aistear describes the types of learning (dispositions, values and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding) that are important for children in their early years, and offers ideas and suggestions as to how this learning might be nurtured.
Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, published in 2006.
Síolta is comprised of three distinct but interrelated elements: Principles, Standards and Components of Quality. The 12 Principles provide the overall vision of the Framework, while the 16 Standards and 75 Components allow for the practical application of this vision across all aspects of ECCE practice. The Components of Quality are further explained by a set of Signposts for Reflection and ‘Think-abouts’ which are intended to support practitioners in early education settings to become aware of and critical of their practice. These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail inthe Síolta user manual.
Síolta is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present. These settings include:
The National Síolta Aistear Initiative (NSAI) has been developed to provide central support and coordination of Síolta and Aistear implementation across the early childhood sector. The initiative has two strands. The first will focus on Síolta, including the introduction of Síolta awareness raising workshops and the expansion of the Síolta Quality Assurance Programme (QAP). The second strand relates to Aistear, and will see the development of workshops and coaching to support practitioners to use Aistear in their setting. Carlow CCC under the NSAI offer the following support to Early years services in Carlow:
The Síolta Aistear Practice Guide Introductory Workshop
Síolta awareness raising workshops
Aistear Síolta Mentor support
Síolta Quality Awareness Programme (QAP)
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can meaningfully participate in the ECCE Programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.
AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school service. For many children, the universal supports offered under the model will be sufficient. For others, one particular discrete support may be required to enable participation in the ECCE Programme, such as access to a piece of specialised equipment. For a small number, a suite of different services and supports may be necessary. In other words, the model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting. It offers tailored, practical supports based on need and does not require a formal diagnosis of disability.
AIM provides a suite of universal and targeted supports across 7 levels.
Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, applies to all those working in a voluntary or paid capacity with children and families. It outlines the roles and responsibilities in relation to recognising, responding and reporting child protection and welfare concerns. You should always inform Tusla when you have reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. If you ignore what may be symptoms of abuse, it could result in ongoing harm to the child. It is not necessary for you to prove that abuse has occurred to report a concern to Tusla. All that is required is that you have reasonable grounds for concern. It is Tusla’s role to assess concerns that are reported to it. If you report a concern, you can be assured that your information will be carefully considered with any other information available and a child protection assessment will be carried out where sufficient risk is identified.
Ireland’s National Child Protection and Welfare Guidance Training
It is recommended that everyone involved in early years services including staff, board members and volunteers complete the Tusla Children First e-learning programme
The Children First Act 2015 was enacted on 19th November 2015 and commenced in full on December 11th 2017.
The Act places a number of statutory obligations on specific groups of professionals and on particular organisations providing services to children.
Through the provisions of the Act, it is intended to:
Raise awareness of child abuse and neglect
Provide for mandatory reporting by key professionals
Improve child safeguarding arrangements in organisations providing services to children
Provide for cooperation and information-sharing between agencies when Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is undertaking child protection
The legislation also contains a provision that removes the defence of reasonable chastisement in relation to corporal punishment as part of court proceedings.
The policy intent is that the legislation will operate side-by-side with the existing non-statutory obligations provided for in Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017), see link below.
Tusla’s guide for the reporting of child protection and welfare concerns will help you when considering reporting a child protection or welfare concern to Tusla. It outlines the Children First principles of practice and the importance of working together to protect children. Guidance is given on when and how to report a child protection or welfare concern to Tusla. Information is provided on how Tusla will respond to your report and on related issues, such as feedback to you as the reporter and record-keeping.
Finally, it provides information on Tusla’s out-of-hours service, child protection and welfare training, and our complaints procedure, see link below:
The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act, 2012 are additional key pieces of complementary legislation designed to improve child safety and protection.
The National Vetting Bureau Act 2012-2016 makes it mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted. All early years services are required to comply with the provisions of the Act.
Carlow County Childcare Committee has responsibility for the delivery of Tusla’s Always Children First Child Protection training in the Early Years sector in Carlow. This is the standard certified Child Protection training module for the Early Years sector and it is the training which the Tusla Early Years Inspectors will require when training becomes part of the inspection process. Áine Gahan, Siobhán Cummins and Michelle Durkin are accredited to deliver this training.
Carlow County Childcare Committee delivers a full (6 hour) training programme. Refresher Training (3.5 hours) is available to participants who have completed the full training post-2014.
For more information on any of our upcoming Child Protection Training, please see the Training section of our Website or call us on 059-9140244.
The Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme, LINC, is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award (Higher Education), that is designed to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years. The course is offered for free to people working within early years education and is fully funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Once qualified, graduates will perform the role of Inclusion Coordinator within their early years setting.
The development of the programme is part of a government response to local, national and international demands for high quality education and training leading towards graduate pathways in the combined field of early childhood care and education (ECCE). The programme seeks to address the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in relation to the inclusion of children with additional needs.
The application process for students interested in partaking in the LINC Programme for the 2018/2019 is now closed.
The Governance Code is a resource to assist community, voluntary and charity (CVC) organisations develop their overall capacity in terms of how they run their organisation. It is a voluntary code provided free to all boards/committees/ executives of not-for-profit groups to encourage them to check themselves against best practice in the management of their affairs.
The Code has been put together by people with extensive experience in the CVC sector and it takes account of the different types of organisations which exist in the diverse world of volunteering across the country.