Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (294)

Pat Breen

Question:

294. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a person (details supplied) will be facilitated in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49054/12]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme was introduced in January 2010 and provides for one free preschool year for all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school.

The programme includes a number of additional provisions to take account of children with special needs. These include an exemption from the upper age limit for qualification under the programme where a child is developmentally delayed and would benefit from starting primary school at a later age. In addition, children with special needs can apply to have the preschool year split over two years on a pro-rata basis, for example availing of the programme for 2 days a week in the first year and for 3 days a week in the second year. Application for these exemptions must be made prior to the child commencing the programme. However, there is no provision under the programme for a second preschool year for any child. As the child in question has availed of the full free preschool complement in the academic year 2011/2012, there is no further entitlement under the ECCE programme.

Future developments relating to early years care and education will, of course, be considered during preparation of the new National Early Years Strategy 2012.