The ECCE programme provides universal free pre-school for all children. The ECCE programme rules specify the age which a child must reach before starting ECCE, which is 2 years and 8 months on or prior to 31 August of the relevant programme year to be eligible for the September start date. Age limits have been used to determine eligibility since the inception of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme in 2010.
My Department does its best to ensure the equitable treatment of all children and families who apply for childcare funding under the ECCE Programme. In order to ensure objectivity and fairness, it is essential that clear rules exist for the scheme and that they are applied consistently.