Press release-Minister O’Gorman marks Day of Hope and Recognition for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare 04/02/2022
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today (04 February) marked the Day of Hope and Recognition for early learning and care and school-age childcare by committing to continue increasing Government investment into the sector and supporting early years educators and school-age childcare practitioners.
The Government has set out ambitious and wide-ranging reforms for the sector. These include: an overhaul of how the sector is funded; commitments to strengthen professional development and career pathways for educators and practitioners; and supports for improvements in pay and conditions.
Over the last twelve months, actions taken by Minister O’Gorman have included:
- Announcement of a new ‘core funding stream’ for services. This funding, worth over €207 million in a full year, will enable providers to attract and retain qualified staff.
- Launch of Nurturing Skills: The Workforce Plan for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare, 2022-2028, setting out plans for a graduate-led workforce and strengthened career pathways.
- A process that led to establishment of a Joint Labour Committee for Early Years Services, providing a mechanism to help address issues of pay and conditions in the sector.
Commenting on the Day of Hope and Recognition, Minister O’Gorman said:
“During Covid-19, we all gained a much better appreciation of the work done by the professionals who work in early learning and care and school-age childcare. Through some of the darkest days of the pandemic, they kept their doors open, and made sure that our children had a safe and supportive environment in which to learn and develop.
“As early years educators and school-age childcare professionals mark their day of hope and recognition, I want to re-iterate that I am committed to making sure their pay and conditions reflect the importance of the work they do.
“Our ambition is for Ireland to have world-class early learning and care and school-age childcare, which helps children thrive, is affordable for parents, and values those who work in it. We are embarking on wide-ranging reform of the sector, and by working in partnership with providers and professionals, we can achieve that ambition.”
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