Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (1004)

Noel Harrington


1004. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if the free preschool year in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Cork can be deferred until September 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22761/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

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.