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Qualification Requirements

The minimum qualification of Level 5 on the National Framework for Qualifications, is required for all staff working with children in Early Years Services from 31st December 2016.

DCEDIY Early Years Recognised Qualifications

The DCEDIY has published a list of recognised qualifications, for the purposes of meeting the minimum qualification requirement in the pending Early Years Regulations and for meeting the contractual requirements for the DCEDIY Childcare Funding Programmes.

This list enables employees working in the Early Years sector in Ireland to verify whether the qualifications they hold will be recognised under the pending Early Years Regulations.

It also sets out the qualifications that will be recognised for the purposes of the DCEDIY Childcare Programmes, in particular, if the qualification they hold meets the requirement for the room leader in the ECCE programme and for a service to receive the ECCE Higher Capitation rate.

Where a qualification is not published on the list of DCEDIY Early Years Recognised Qualifications but the holder considers it to be an appropriate Major Award at Level 5 on the NFQ or equivalent, the holder can apply to have their qualification assessed for approval.

The list of ‘Early Years DCEDIY Recognised Qualifications’ is below:

The list will be updated on a regular basis as other qualifications are approved.

ECCE Capitation Payments

As part of the Early Years Quality Agenda, new qualification requirements for Early Years (Childcare) staff have been introduced. All staff caring for children in an Early Years service will be subject to a minimum qualification requirement of Level 5 or equivalent from the 1st January 2017.

The minimum qualification for all Pre-School Leaders, delivering the ECCE programme, is Level 6 (on the National Framework for Qualifications).

Payment under the ECCE programme is by way of capitation fees which are paid directly to the service provider.  A capitation fee is payable in respect of each eligible child enrolled in the ECCE programme, on a pro-rata basis if applicable.

Core Funding

Core Funding is a new strand of funding to Early Learning and Care (ELC) and/or School Age Childcare (SAC) providers which will form part of the new funding model as recommended by an Expert Group and approved by Government in December 2021.

The Core Funding Programme will support partner services (ELC/SAC providers who has entered Core Funding Partner Service Funding Agreement) in meeting their operating costs, including increased costs related to improved quality measures, in return for a commitment that fees to parents will not increase. The majority of Core Funding will be allocated to partner services based on their capacity. Services with graduate-led provision will also be able to attract a graduate premium.

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