Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (241)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

241. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action he has taken on foot of the action plan on school aged childcare. [16719/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As part of the programme for government commitments to promote the use of school buildings outside of school hours, my Department took a number of important actions to build on and enhance the already extensive use of buildings for community use. In relation to the use of schools for the specific purpose of school age childcare, my officials participated in the interdepartmental group that produced the Action Plan on School Age childcare that was published in March 2017. Following that report, the then Minister and his officials engaged directly with the management bodies, patrons and property owners. A set of guidelines, designed to assist the owners of school buildings who wished to provide childcare services in their schools was published by my Department in October 2017. 

These guidelines can be viewed on the Department's website at this link: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/guidelines-on-the-use-of-school-buildings-outside-of-school-hours.pdf. This year, the Department intends to conduct a review of the guidelines and they will be updated accordingly following the review. 

Another commitment in the report was to consider the qualification needs of those working in school age childcare as part of a wider review of qualifications for the sector. The Department is working closely with QQI and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on this matter. DES is supporting DCYA as they implement their commitments in the Action Plan in relation to developing quality standards for school age childcare, elements of which will relate to the nature and level of qualifications that may be appropriate for those providing that service. It is intended that a workforce development plan to commence in 2019 and led by DCYA in close collaboration with DES will consider this matter in further detail.

Question No. 242 answered with Question No. 196.