Thursday, 17 July 2014

Questions (795, 796, 797, 798, 799)

Robert Troy

Question:

795. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number working in early education and childcare here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32539/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

796. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons who are currently working in early education and childcare here who have a FETAC level 4 qualification; the percentage of the early education and childcare workforce that this represents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32540/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

797. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons who are working in early education and childcare here who have a FETAC level 5 qualification; the percentage of the early education and childcare workforce that this represents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32541/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

798. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons who are working in early education and childcare here who have a FETAC level 6 qualifications; the percentage of the early education and childcare workforce that this represents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32542/14]

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Robert Troy

Question:

799. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of persons who are working in early education and childcare here who have a third level qualification in early childhood; the percentage of the early education and childcare workforce that this represents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32543/14]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 795 to 799, inclusive, together.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme introduced the first-ever requirement for minimum qualifications for staff working in the childcare sector. Prior to the introduction of the programme in January 2010 there was no requirement for staff working directly with children in preschool services to hold any education qualification.

It is a requirement of the ECCE programme that preschool year leaders in services participating in the programme, and who are receiving the standard capitation, hold a qualification in childcare which is equivalent to Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications of Ireland (NFQ). A higher capitation rate is available to services participating in the ECCE programme in which all of the preschool leaders hold an appropriate qualification at a minimum of Level 7 and preschool assistants hold a Level 5 on the NFQ.

As part of the Early Years Quality Agenda, new qualification requirements for childcare workers are being introduced. All staff caring for children in an early years service will be subject to a minimum qualification requirement of Level 5, while preschool leaders delivering the ECCE programme will require a Level 6 qualification. These requirements will come into effect from September 2014 for new services, and from September 2015 for existing services.

Pobal, which administers the childcare support programmes on behalf of my Department, compiles an Annual Survey of the Early Years Sector. According to its 2013 Annual Survey, of the childcare services that responded to the question relating to the number of staff employed, 87% of staff have a qualification equal to or higher than Level 5 on the NFQ . This figure confirms the finding of previous annual surveys conducted by Pobal. Further figures provided in the Pobal Survey indicate that the number of childcare workers holding a Level 6 qualification is in the region of 45%.

Figures compiled this year by my Department indicate that approximately 24% of the 4,300 services participating in the ECCE programme are in receipt of the higher capitation. This means that at least one member of staff in the qualifying childcare service holds an appropriate qualifications at Level 7 or higher.

It is estimated by Pobal, from information provided by respondents to their Annual Survey 2013 that there is in the region of 24,000 staff employed in the childcare sector.