09/10/20 Update

LINC has been extended for another three years (2019/2020 was to be last programme year) and will open for new applications on Monday October 12 at 9am, to make an application visit the website and click on the apply now tab to apply. The programme will be 100% online for 2020/2021, so there will be no locations. The programme will commence in January 2021.

Note the criteria for this year is the following (priority will be given to eligible applications):
1.        Settings that do not currently employ a LINC graduate.
2.        Settings that already employ a LINC graduate and have over 22 ECCE-aged children attending.
3.        All other settings.

Please see FAQs to the right for more information. Click on image to enlarge. 



In addition to the Level 6 programme, the LINC Consortium is developing a continuing professional development (CPD) programme for INCOs to allow them to continue on their education journey and deepen their knowledge and understanding of leading inclusion in their settings. We will post more on this here on this page, as soon as news is circulated, this is expected to commence in April 2021. Source


The  Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme, LINC, is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award (Higher Education), that is designed to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years. The course is offered for free to people working within early years education and is fully funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Once qualified, graduates will perform the role of Inclusion Coordinator within their early years setting.

The development of the programme is part of a government response to local, national and international demands for high quality education and training leading towards graduate pathways in the combined field of early childhood care and education (ECCE). The programme seeks to address the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in relation to the inclusion of children with additional needs.

Extra INCO Capitation for Settings

Early years settings that employ an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) who has graduated from LINC will receive an extra €2 per week in capitation per ECCE-eligible child in a pre-school room, where the child is on an ECCE/CCS/TEC programme.  Subject to detailed operational guidelines, the increase applies from a) graduation of the Inclusion Coordinator from the higher education programme and b) completion of a signed agreement by the Inclusion Coordinator that they will take on the roles and responsibilities associated with the post. The additional €2 capitation applies to all ECCE children in the setting, not just children with special educational needs.

Course Fees

As the course is fully funded by the DCYA, it is free to participate in.  Only settings that hold a contract to deliver the ECCE/CCS/TEC programme, funded by the DCYA are eligible to nominate a candidate.

Student Grant

There is a once-off payment of €200, to each participating eligible student. This payment is to assist in covering expenses arising from participating on the programme.

Room Leader Status

On the 21st of August 2018 the programme was recognised as meeting the ECCE Room Leader (Standard Capitation) Status by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. See this link for a list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications.

Download or Print the Role of the INclusion COordinator


For more information you can visit