Key Findings from Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report by POBAL and DCEDIY
The government's annual early years sector report which is the result of a detailed survey of almost 3,000 providers has been published revealing up to date insights into the sector.
Some of the key findings include the level of staff qualifications has continued to grow steadily over the last few years, with 27% of staff working directly with children now holding a qualification at NFQ Level 7 or higher.
Speaking on the report, Minister O’Gorman said the sector continues to move towards a ‘highly qualified workforce’.
“Notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, I am struck by the positive developments across the sector and through the data evidenced in this report.
“This report reveals another year-on-year increase in the number of children with additional needs receiving support under the Access and Inclusion model.
“The continued progress towards a highly qualified workforce is also very positive, with a significant increase in the number of staff qualified to level 7 or higher,” he said.
This annual report – the eighteenth in the series – provides a detailed overview of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School-Age Childcare (SAC) sector in Ireland.
The report covers topics such as the numbers of children in receipt of state subsidies, information on ELC and SAC fees, staff wages, qualifications and turnover.
The findings of the report play a central role in informing policy development and in assessing the impact of policy change.
It is based on a survey of ELC and SAC providers in Ireland and administrative data from DCEDIY schemes.
The Annual Early Years Sector Profile report is based on information collected at the end of June 2020.
This was during an unusual and challenging period, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when ELC and SAC providers were preparing to reopen.
Despite the difficult circumstances almost 3,000 providers completed the survey.
Key Findings From the Survey
During the 2019/2020 programme year, a total of 180,149 children were supported under at least one Government subsidy programme. A total of 53,513 children from 42,557 households received subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme, which launched on 20th November 2019.
A total of 2,428 Early Learning and Care and School Aged Childcare services and 5,708 children with additional needs were supported under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). The number of services receiving support under AIM as well as the number of children receiving targeted supports has increased on the previous year, by 1.7% and 3.5% respectively.
Fees have increased across all types of provision, but this rate of increase has been less than in previous years, at less than 1% across all types of provision. In 2019/2020, an average weekly fee for full time care was €186.12.
It is estimated that 30,883 staff work in the sector, 85% of whom worked directly with children.
Wages of staff working in the ELC and SAC sector have increased year-on-year; however, the pace of growth is slow. The average hourly wage of childcare staff (excluding managers) in 2019/20 was €12.45, 4% higher than in 2018/2019.
The level of staff qualifications has continued to grow steadily over the last few years, with 27% of staff working directly with children now holding a qualification at NFQ Level 7 or higher.
The staff turnover in the sector decreased for two years in a row and in 2019/20 was 18%, down 7% from two years ago.
The report is produced by Pobal on behalf of the DCEDIY. Read the report in full here.