The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme provides one free preschool year to all eligible children before the commence 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. Applications for exemptions are considered by officials in the Early Years Policies and Programmes unit in my Department. I have asked officials to examine the documentation submitted by the Deputy and to write directly to the parents in this matter.