Footsteps for the Future - Increasing investment in Early Childhood Education

This report by Early Childhood Ireland is a unique insight, from an economic perspective, into the Early Childhood education sector in Ireland

This report authored by Dr Stephen Kinsella examines how service delivery can be enhanced through sustained increases in funding, above the natural level required by demographic changes.

Key recommendations in “Footsteps for the Future” report include:

  • Moving, gradually, towards 1 year of paid parental leave, in 1 month movements, over a 6 year period at a cost of €41 million per annum.

  • A public subsidy system of out of school care at a cost of €19 million in 2016. 

  • Increased capitation levels to €75 and €85 per child per week for the Free Pre School Year programme, at a cost of €27 million in 2016.  This much needed policy change recognises that a good quality childcare place (15 hours a week) costs €75 and above to deliver.  It improves sustainability of service providers, drives quality improvements throughout the system and retains professionalism in the sector. 

  • A rights-based, social model with anticipatory funding to be introduced for children with additional needs and children from disadvantaged areas to support their participation in the Free Pre School Year programme.

  • A rolling quality programme, as the lynchpin of the system that requires adequate oversight, testing and regulation.

Download the Footsteps for the Future Report.