What is the New 'Core Funding' Model in Early Years Sector and How Will it Work?
The government has set out ambitious and wide-ranging reforms for the early years sector in Ireland.
Its ambition is to make Ireland's early learning and care 'world-class' and the reforms include an overhaul of how the sector is funded, strengthening professional development and career pathways for educators and practitioners and support for improvements in pay and conditions.
Childcare services are to become increasingly publically funded under the new plans. One of the new items of reform is the introduction of ‘Core Funding’ which is being put forward as the key to unlocking some of the most challenging issues in the current funding system.
As announced in Budget 2022, there will be a total of €207 million made available to implement the recommendations over time; €78m for 2022.
The new funding stream is planned to take effect from September 2022 for approximately 4,700 early learning and childcare providers.
Providers will be eligible for this new funding stream to help cover increased operating costs linked to quality improvement measures.
This funding aims to support ELC and SAC providers to attract and retain staff, including degree-qualified staff.
The new funding model is intended, over time, to deliver the following results:
quality improvements to services
better pay and conditions for staff
improved affordability for parents
better management of supply to meet demand
and support for provider sustainability.
What is 'Core Funding' and How Will it Work?
The DCEDIY (formerly DCYA) has outlined that Core Funding will be allocated to services based on their capacity and the qualifications of those working in a service in line with the following three elements:
Main base rate: Number of child places in an age group * Value based on ratio that applies to age group * Hours of operation per week * Weeks open per year
Graduate Lead Educator uplift: Applied at room level, scaling in line with hours per week and weeks per year group is operating (Maximum one Graduate Lead Educator uplift per ELC room)
Graduate Manager uplift: Applied at service level, scaling in line with hours per week and weeks per year service is operating (Maximum one Graduate Manager uplift per service)
Updates to determine the potential value of Core Funding will be available in early March along with further communications to the sector about the funding and contract.
The professionalisation of the early years sector in Ireland has been ongoing for a number of years now. This looks set to continue with the level of qualification becoming increasingly valuable under the new funding model. If you are interested in gaining further qualifications, Portobello Institute is the sector's educator of choice. You can visit our course pages here.