Early Years (Pre School) Inspectorate
Welcome to Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate.
The Early Years Inspectorate is responsible for inspecting pre-schools, play groups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years. The inspectorate also regulates School Age Services.
If you are a parent who uses or wants to use an early years service for your child, you will find lots of information here to help you make your decision including the register of early years services, most recent inspection reports, and information and tips on what to look for when choosing a service. You will also find information on who to contact if you have a complaint or concern about an early years service, and information about Tusla’s role as regulator, as well as general news and updates.
If you work in an early years service, either as a registered provider or in any other role, you will find helpful information including guidance documents, webinars, templates and forms that will help you, as well as regular updates and links to other resources,
If you are thinking about establishing an early years service, you will find specific information and guidance on what you need to do and how to do it.
Urgent Notice – Changes to Early Years Inspectorate Registration Office Telephone numbers – August 2023
All Registration office Early Years Inspectorate telephone numbers are changing this month. Our new numbers are listed in this document.
Guidance for the Early Learning and Care sector on sleep provision for children under 24 months
We have published a guidance document which sets out the revised position of Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate on sleep provision for children under 24 months in early learning and care services.
Keeping Children Safe During Hot Weather
We have published a guidance document to support everyone working in early years services in ensuring children are kept safe during periods of hot weather.
You can access the document on our provider resources page
Publication of outdoor guidance – When the Roof is the Sky: Guidance for the registration and inspection of early years services operating outdoors.
The Early Years Inspectorate has today (1st June 2023) published a guidance document, designed specifically for those Early Years Services (both pre-school and School Age) operating fully or mostly outdoors. The guidance provides advice and support on how services can meet the requirements as set out in the Early Years Service Regulations (2016) and/or Registration of School Age Services Regulations (2018) in an outdoor environment.
You can access the document on our provider resources page
Early Years Regulations
The key pieces of legislation, including the Regulations relating to Early Years (pre-school) Services, are listed below
Child Care Act 1991, Section 58 as amended by Part 12 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013 (No 40 of 2013)
This Act established the role and function of Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate and set out the legal basis for the regulation, registration and inspection of all Early Years Services
Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 221/2016)
These regulations set out the specific requirements that Early Years (pre-school) services must legally adhere to. Inspections of services measure compliance against these regulations.
Child Care Regulations (The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Amendments) Regulations 2016. (S.I. No. 632/2016)
This specifically clarified the employment status of people employed under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) in Early Years Services
Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 195/2022)
This enabled a streamlined process for the renewal of registration of Early Years (pre-school) Services and introduced a requirement for certificates of registration to be issued and displayed
To support services to comply with regulatory requirements the Early Years Inspectorate has developed some useful documents and tools.
The Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF) sets out the core regulatory requirements in a transparent way, bringing together evidence-based, national and international research and best practice in Early Years.
There are separate QRFs for Full Day, Sessional, Childminding and Drop-in Services
The Question & Answer document was developed to designed to support compliance and improvement in the sector by supporting understanding of regulatory requirements in relation to; the registration of a new service, the inspection process, proposed changes to registration status, notification of incidents, fee payments, management of concerns & feedback and the publication of inspection reports.
There are also numerous resources designed to support services on the Early Years Provider Resources section of our website
I am a School Age Provider
Changes in Circumstances & Cessations
Change in Circumstance
Registered providers are required to notify the Early Years Inspectorate in writing whenever they propose to make a change to their current registration in accordance with Regulation 8 of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 (S.1. 221 of 2016) & Regulation 7 Child Care Act 1991(Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018.
These proposals for change are assessed by the inspectorate to ensure that the proposed changes are lawful and will not pose a risk to children.
Timeframes for change in circumstance applications are set out in Regulation 8 of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 (S.1. 221 of 2016) and Regulation 7 of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018
- At least 60 days advance notification for changes to Full day care, Part time, Sessional, Childminding, Drop-In, and Overnight services.
- At least 60 days in advance for a school age service.
- 7 calendar days notification for changes to a Temporary service.
Notification for proposed change in circumstances and supplementary information forms must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
For school age service change in circumstance information, please go to the School Age Change in Circumstance and cessations page
Registered providers are required to notify the Early Years Inspectorate in writing of the cessation of service not later than 28 days after the cessation of the service (This requirement does not apply to temporary services). The closure form is required to be completed where a person ceases to carry on a preschool service.
The cessation of service form must be emailed to email@example.com.
Cessation of Service (Closure) Form
Scor Seirbhíse – Fógra faoi Athrú ar Chúinsí
School Age Services
Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate is responsible for the regulation of pre-schools, play groups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years.
From January 2019 the registration of School Age Services is included in this remit following the publication of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018.
All school age service providers are required to register their school age service with Tusla by completing the online registration process using the Tusla portal. Guidance for completing the registration process and using the portal can be found below.
If you are a school age service provider, or would like to register as one, you will find helpful information, templates and forms that will assist you, as well as news and updates.
If you are a parent who uses or wants to use a school age service for your child, you can check the the register of school age services.