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Category: Blog

There Can Be No Turning Back From This Pivotal Point

This year's early education and care budget delivered substantial improvements, which will result in very quick benefits for both children and parents. 

SVP asked for improvements in the ECCE free pre-school year....
A step change in the Free Pre-School ECCE programme will see a three hour session, five days a week, 38 weeks a year, for three year olds until they are five years and six months. This will mean lower childcare costs for parents. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has costed this as a savings of €1,500 per child and increased access to quality provision for children at a critical time in their development.

SVP also campaigned for improvements to the targeted childcare scheme for low-income families (Community Childcare Subvention Scheme) to help them access work and/or training....
An additional 8,000 places were announced in the Budget for 2016 and from January private providers will be able to operate the scheme, which will have an immediate impact on those areas of the country where there are no community providers. 

SVP have lobbied for more affordable childcare.....
The Government made a clear commitment that they will deliver a single Affordable Childcare Programme from 2017, which will replace the current confusing array of schemes, which parents struggle to navigate. 

We have been lobbying Government for more quality measures to ensure that the experience children have in settings will enhance their development....
We got a clear message that this will happen with regular quality audits, more money going to the Learner Fund which focuses on improving qualification levels and more funding to support the roll out of the Síolta quality assurance programme. 

SVP has been criticising the lack of appropriate quality after school care places for children in primary school, particularly since the Government is actively pushing lone parents to develop more skills so that they can get work....
The Government has allocated €3 million capital fund which will help providers improve current places and a commitment to develop this strand of the sector.

This €85 million package, which increases the sector's allocation by a third, is a very welcome one and shows intent and ambition to begin to tackle the deep challenges in the sector; expensive provision, poor wages, low qualifications and patchy quality.

SVP will continue to work closely with the Department and stakeholders in the sector to ensure that in particular, the Project Team set up to plan and deliver the Affordable Childcare Programme does the right job the right way.

SVP is pleased that the Government has committed to implementing these changed and are making a better step towards investing in what truly matters, our children.  There can be no turning back from this pivotal point.

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