Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2587)

Anne Rabbitte


2587. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children of early childhood care and education scheme age that reside here. [34424/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

DCYA sought clarification on the question and we understand it relates to the number of children eligible for ECCE in the programme year September 2019 to June 2020.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is a universal programme available to all children within the eligible age range. It was first introduced in 2010 as a one-year programme to provide children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school.

In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, the ECCE Programme was extended in September 2018. Children are now eligible to enrol in this Programme once they are 2 years and 8 months of age in the September of a given programme year and are eligible to avail of two years of the programme (provided that they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the programme year). The proportion of children availing on this entitlement is determined by a range of factors, including the child’s month of birth and parental choice with regard to school starting age.

The eligible cohort of children for the ECCE Programme 2019/20 based on CSO birth registrations for 2015/16 is 129,377. This is an approximate figure as it does not account for dynamic factors such as migration.

The estimated number of children that will enrol for the ECCE Programme 2019/20 is 108,518. This estimate is derived using a number of data sources, including population data provided by the CSO and data on school starting age from the Pupil Online Database held by the Department of Education and Skills. It reflects that some parents will choose not to avail of the 2 years. It reflects consistent trends in uptake of the first year of the ECCE Programme. Finally, it excludes children within the eligible cohort who may choose to enrol on other DCYA funded programmes (a significant number of children eligible for ECCE enrol on other schemes such as the CCS).