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Parents Notice - School Age Childcare

Parents Notice – School Age Childcare


Childcare services for school-age children must now register with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. School-age childcare services have not, to date, been subject to registration, so this is a significant step forward in ensuring quality school-age childcare.


Services must register their service if their primary purpose is to care for children where their parents are unavailable.

Services that provide childcare for school-age children only must apply for registration by 18 May 2019 and are encouraged to start this process straightaway. School-age services that are already registered with Tusla as pre-school services must apply for registration by 18 August 2019. New services must apply for registration at least 3 months before opening.


School-Age Childcare services that are registered will also be eligible to apply to participate in the forthcoming National Childcare Scheme.

What is the National Childcare Scheme?

The National Childcare Scheme is a pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. From October 2019 it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.

Supports are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.

For further information relating to the National Childcare Scheme please visit

Report of the National Disability Authority

Minister Zappone welcomes the report of the National Disability Authority with regard to overage exemptions for the ECCE free pre-school programme


Friday 29th March 2019
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone and the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Joe McHugh, today welcomed and published the report by the National Disability Authority (NDA) of the consultation process into overage exemptions for certain children in the Early Childhood Care and Education programme (ECCE). In welcoming the report, which was jointly commissioned by the Ministers for Children & Youth Affairs and Education & Skills and is being published today, Minister Zappone stated

‘The free pre-school programme is an important cornerstone of the Government’s commitment to high quality early learning and care. It is critical that all children are supported to participate fully in the programme. This report provides us with important evidence regarding the needs of children with disabilities which can now inform our future thinking in this important area.’

In December 2017 Minister Zappone announced her decision to pause the proposed rule changes on overage exemptions to the pre-school programme to allow for a consultation process where all voices, including those of parents of children with disabilities, could be heard in relation to the proposed change.

Both Ministers have conveyed their thanks to the NDA for their hard work and commitment in producing the report and for the invaluable contributions by parents, advocacy groups and other stakeholders who engaged with the NDA to assist in the production of the report.

Addressing some of the issues raised in the report Minister Zappone said 

‘Evidence shows us that for the overwhelming majority of children with additional needs it is in their best interest to progress through transitions in their early life with their peers. Positive and well planned transitions from pre-school to supportive primary school environments are key. Our future policy direction must be informed solely by a consideration of what is in the best interests of the children and families involved. We must ensure that whatever information, support and resources that are necessary are in place to enable this to occur.’
Minister McHugh agreed, acknowledging that:

“The NDA report highlights that for parents and children, the transition from pre-school into primary school can be an anxious time. There is a shared objective by professionals in both sectors to provide an inclusive environment and experience for all children. We now all need to work collaboratively across the early learning and care and the primary school sectors to ensure that parents and children are aware of the many supports available to them, so that children can fully participate in high quality learning experiences with their peers as they progress through their lives.”

To progress the issue, Minister Zappone has asked that a group of experts in early learning and care, education and health, together with a parent representative, be convened to agree the next practical steps in as short a timeframe as possible. The work of the group will focus on how to support parents in planning for their children’s needs; improving the process of transition for children with additional needs from early learning and care settings to primary school and to ensure that parents are assured that the school will address the children’s need. The group will also consider how best to meet the needs of children in very exceptional circumstances where additional flexibility in the two year ECCE programme may be required.

Minister Zappone stressed that the current procedure for dealing with overage exemptions will remain in place for the 2019/20 pre-school year pending the outcome of this work.

The full NDA report can be found here

Additional letter of advice from NDA can be found here


Childcare Programme Support Payments

Zappone confirms Childcare Programme Support Payments worth over €19m 

Application window 13th May – 21st June 2019

Payments to issue end June


Thursday 21st March 2019

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., today announced details of the forthcoming Programme Support Payment (PSP), due to be made available to all early learning and care providers this summer.

Over €19m will be made available to early learning and care services under the measure from June 2019.

The payment will be calculated as equal to 7 days’ (1.4 weeks’) registrations for ECCE at Standard Capitation, and 14 days’ (2.8 weeks’) registrations for CCS(P) and TEC.

The application window for PSP will open for six weeks from Monday 13 May to Friday 21 June 2019 and the application form can be accessed through the Programmes Implementation Platform (PIP).
Payments will issue the following week.

The Programme Support Payment recognises the additional time required of providers of DCYA-funded early learning and care and school age childcare programmes, to complete the administrative work associated with the scheme. The payment also recognises the time required to perform activities outside of contact time with children, such as preparing materials for early learning and care sessions and assisting parents in understanding how they might benefit from the various childcare schemes supported by the State.

Making the announcement Minister Zappone said:

“For children, parents and providers 2019 is a hugely significant year with the launch of the National Childcare Scheme. As the countdown to October continues it is important that providers are supported to ensure that the biggest change ever undertaken in early learning and childcare becomes a reality. This investment, part of the 117% jump in Government funding since 2015, will help us build a scheme which will serve families in Ireland for generations to come. We have come a long way – and we must never go back!”  

As previously announced by the Minister, there will be a further “Transitional Support Payment” of €2m associated with the National Childcare Scheme, in addition to the Programme Support Payment, later in 2019. Further details in relation to this additional €2m will follow shortly.

NB: Please note that the application window closing date (Friday 21 June 2019) is final, and that no applications for PSP will be admitted beyond this point under any circumstances.



Notes to editors 

ECCE: The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range. It provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks per year and the programme year runs from September to June each year.

CCS: The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Programme is a childcare programme targeted to support parents on a low income to avail of reduced childcare costs at participating community childcare services. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) pays for a portion of the childcare costs for eligible children, a payment described as a subvention payment, with the parent paying the remainder.

CCSP: The    Community    Childcare    Subvention    Plus    (CCS    Plus)    Programme, similar to normal CCS, provides    support    for    parents/guardians on  a  low  income  to  avail  of  reduced  childcare  costs  at participating  privately owned childcare services and at community not-for-profit childcare services.

TEC: The objective of the Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Programmes is to support parents on eligible training courses and eligible categories of parents returning to work, by providing subsidised childcare places.

NCS: The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) will replace the existing targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and more user-friendly scheme. The Scheme will open to applications in October 2019 and aims to:

  • Improve outcomes for children
  • Reduce poverty
  • Facilitate labour market activation and
  • Tangibly reduce the cost of childcare in Ireland for tens of thousands of families

Minister Zappone announces up to 1,150 free places on LINC

Minister Zappone announces up to 1,150 free places on the Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years (LINC) Higher Education Programme


Tuesday 5th March 2019

Up to 1,150 free training places are being made available to pre-school practitioners to ensure their pre-school services are inclusive and accessible to children with disabilities, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. 

Applications opened on 4 March 2019 for the fourth intake onto the Leadership for Inclusion (LINC) higher education programme for pre-school practitioners which will commence this September. The LINC programme is a key initiative under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) for pre-school children.

The LINC programme is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. It is delivered by a consortium, led by Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and in partnership with Early Childhood Ireland and Maynooth University’s Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education.

Welcoming the announcement of the fourth intake onto the LINC programme, the Minister said:

‘At the heart of AIM is the fostering of an inclusive culture and inclusive practices within pre-schools which, once embedded, will be sustained. For this reason a significant part of AIM focuses on training, upskilling and mentoring staff to enhance their skills and confidence to support children with disabilities. There is a strong focus in the LINC programme on the education of inclusion leaders within services, who will provide leadership and mentoring within their own services and in this way, support wider and longer-lasting improvements in practice.’

Across the country, over 1,250 graduates from the first two years of the programme are now performing a new leadership role of Inclusion Coordinator within their pre-school setting. This attracts an increase in the rate of ECCE capitation payable to that setting. LINC graduates also meet the educational requirement to perform the role of ECCE room leader within their pre-school setting.

LINC’s National Programme Coordinator, Mr Fintan Breen, outlined how the LINC programme contains online and classroom based sessions in order to ensure a flexible and quality learning experience, enabling pre-school practitioners in full-time employment to participate in the programme. He added that LINC is an award-winning programme, having recently won the Student Engagement and Communications Award at the Education Awards 2019 which represents the third award for the LINC programme since it was established in 2016.  The Access and Inclusion Model has also won a number of national awards.

The application deadline for applying for a place on the LINC programme is Thursday, 4 April 2019 and further information on how to apply can be found on


Updated – EY & SAC Capital 2019 Application

Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Capital 2019 Application Announcement
Please note, an additional clarification has been added to the guidelines here. Please read this clarification carefully before making an application.  Please contact Pobal online support on 01-5117222 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" rel="noopener">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.