Minister O’Gorman announces details of the new €221 million funding stream for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare providers

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman has today (07 March 2022) announced the rates and values for the new Core Funding Scheme and launched an online tool that will enable Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School-Age Childcare (SAC) providers to estimate the potential value of this new €221 million Core Funding Scheme for their service.

The development of Core Funding is a significant milestone on the journey towards a new funding model. It aims to transform of the sector and establish a new type of partnership between providers and the State that reflects the importance of ELC and SAC for the public good.

Core Funding is designed to meet the combined objectives of:

  • Improved affordability for parents by ensuring that fees do not increase;
  • Improved quality through better pay and conditions for the workforce by supporting agreement on an Employment Regulation Order through the Joint Labour Committee;
  • Supporting the employment of graduate staff; and
  • Improved sustainability and stability for services.

Giving further detail on Core Funding and the new online tool, the Minister stated:

“I am delighted to be announcing the specific rates of Core Funding which will make clear the value of this investment to ELC and SAC service providers. We are determined to reform the Early Learning and School-Age Childcare sector so that it works for everyone – staff, parents, and providers and most importantly, children. Today’s announcement is an important step in that process.

“Core Funding will support services by scaling the level of funding in line with the capacity of services and degree-level qualifications of those working in the service. The online tool or Ready Reckoner that I am launching today will allow ELC and SAC providers to see the potential impact of this funding on their individual service.”

Core Funding builds on the objectives set out in the First 5 strategy, progresses the recommendations in the recently-published report of the Expert Group to develop a new funding model, Partnership for the Public Good, and enables the realisation of goals articulated in Nurturing Skills the workforce plan for the sector.

The Core Funding value for an individual service will be calculated based on the following information:

  • The total service capacity per age range offered
  • The hours of operation of the service by week and weeks per year
  • The number of ELC graduate Lead Educators in ELC rooms in the service
  • If the ELC or combined ELC and SAC service has an ELC graduate as the service manager

The Core Funding Ready Reckoner online tool is accessible to all and is designed to give an idea of what services can expect to receive based on their characteristics and to allow different scenarios of provision to be tested.

Further information is available here and support, guidance and training is available through City and County Childcare Committees.

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