Funding Model and Workforce Plan Among Reforms for Early Years Sector - Minister for Children
The Minister for Children has 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 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 support for improvements in pay and conditions.
Over the last twelve months the following changes and frameworks have been established in the sector:
Announcement of a new ‘core funding stream’ for services. This funding, worth over €207 million in a full year, aims to 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 the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee for Early Years Services, providing a mechanism to help address issues of pay and conditions in the sector.
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman T.D has said the ambition is for Ireland to have world-class early learning and care.
“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 reiterate 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," he said.