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10th Oct 2017

Toddlers are to receive nearly four months extra pre-school for free

Parents of little tots, you might be pleased to hear this one.

From September 2018, all children between the ages of three and four will be entitled to two full years of free preschool.

Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, secured funding in this year’s Budget to increase the average entitlement to 76 weeks (up from 61) within the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE). A little bit extra is sure to help, right?

Within this same scheme, parents find certain instances where if, for example, their child was born in September 2015, they’re entitled to 61 weeks of free pre-school while a baby born a month earlier is entitled to 76 weeks.

Similar peculiarities exist at present, but changes to the ECCE should see these oddities come to an end.

With the Budget, more money is to be set aside to try and encourage more providers to sign up to the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

According to the Independent, a source said;

“Last year the plan was to get the Affordable Childcare Scheme up and running, now the attention is being turned to improving quality in the sector.”

Creches and other childcare providers are to receive €18 million to help offset administration costs association with the scheme. The allocation for Early Years/Childcare is set to be €490 million.

Tusla is to see its funding increased by €37 million, up to €750 million in the hopes of growing the number of staff within their services, while also adding to investment in IT.