Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2588)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

2588. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of free preschool places available under the early childhood care and education scheme from September 2019 for the next 38 week period. [34425/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The estimated number of children expected to enrol on the ECCE Programme for 2019/20 is 108,518. The estimates outlined below are 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. This also reflects consistent trends in uptake of the ECCE Programme, which is in the region of 95% of the eligible cohort. It excludes children within the eligible cohort who may choose to enrol on other DCYA funded programmes.

Drawing on previous analysis from the Forward Planning Unit in the Department of Education and Skills on the estimated number of children in each Local Authority that are within the eligible age range for the ECCE programme, the estimated number of children enrolling in ECCE for the 2019/20 programme year in each Local Authority is set out in the following table.

County

No.

Carlow

1,323

Dublin City

10,973

Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown

4,316

Fingal

8,570

South Dublin

7,297

Kildare

5,531

Kilkenny

2,272

Laois

2,061

Longford

980

Louth

3,043

Meath

5,046

Offaly

1,811

West Meath

2,124

Wexford

3,373

Wicklow

3,257

Clare

2,544

Cork City

2,181

Cork County

10,146

Kerry

2,889

Limerick

4,338

Tipperary

3,438

Waterford

2,536

Galway

5,900

Leitrim

711

Mayo

2,647

Roscommon

1,332

Sligo

1,428

Cavan

1,744

Donegal

3,319

Monaghan

1,388

Total

108,518

In addition, my Department funds 30 City and County Childcare Committees across the country. Part of their role is to advise my Department on capacity issues. I would encourage anyone having difficulty in securing a place to make contact with their local CCC. Contact details for all of the CCCs, in addition to other information about the services they provide, may be found on www.myccc.ie

As regards capacity issues more generally, each year Pobal conducts research on behalf of my Department to examine a number of factors related to childcare services in Ireland, including the monitoring of capacity. The Early Years Sector Profile report, which was published in November and relates to the 2017/2018 programme year, indicates that existing childcare provision nationally meets current needs nationwide in terms of capacity whilst recognising that small pockets of under supply may exist within this.

My Department records the breakdown of childcare waiting lists by age cohort rather than by programme. In 2017/18, services reported a total of 173,197 children enrolled in early years services and 9,420 vacant places across Ireland. The following table presents the number of children enrolled and on a waiting list that are approximately within the ECCE eligible age range, as well as the number of vacant places by age cohort. Pre-school children (those aged 3+ to 5 years) represent the largest cohort of children attending childcare services, accounting for 59% of all children enrolled. Data on waiting lists cannot by itself be used to inform capacity decisions as parents often place their children on more than one waiting list.

County

Enrolled

Waiting list

Vacant places

Carlow

2,057

260

68

Cavan

3,120

249

104

Clare

4,280

192

383

Cork City

4,246

510

295

Cork County

14,662

869

1,032

Donegal

6,575

477

882

Dublin – Dublin City

16,075

3,492

581

Dublin – Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

6,357

880

224

Dublin – Fingal

11,149

1,076

450

Dublin – South Dublin

9,294

639

373

Galway

10,514

571

620

Kerry

5,625

269

186

Kildare

8,045

350

304

Kilkenny

3,944

414

195

Laois

3,695

43

298

Leitrim

1,437

63

74

Limerick

7,805

865

278

Longford

1,685

168

59

Louth

4,297

238

197

Mayo

4,509

421

331

Meath

6,996

396

355

Monaghan

3,623

147

190

Offaly

2,697

123

225

Roscommon

2,311

172

98

Sligo

3,144

185

88

Tipperary

6,662

372

437

Waterford

4,612

274

203

Westmeath

3,781

316

385

Wexford

5,724

296

281

Wicklow

4,276

231

224

Total

173,197

14,558

9,420