Since September 2014, minimum qualification requirements apply to all newly set-up Early Years (Childcare) Services. They will apply to existing services as follows:
The minimum qualification for all Pre-School Leaders, delivering the ECCE programme, will increase to Level 6 (on the National Framework for Qualifications) from 31st December 2016.
The minimum qualification of Level 5 on the National Framework for Qualifications, will be required for all staff working with children in Early Years Services from 31st December 2016.
DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications
The DCYA 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 DCYA 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 DCYA 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 DCYA 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 DCYA Recognised Qualifications’ and the ‘Qualifications Recognition Application Process’ are 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 are being introduced. All staff caring for children in an Early Years Service will be subject to a minimum qualification requirement of Level 5 or equivalent,
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 free pre-school year, on a pro-rata basis if applicable.
Higher Capitation Qualification Criteria – The Pre-School Leader must hold the minimum qualification requirements for the ECCE Room Leader (Higher Capitation) as approved on the published list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications REF 65 and all Pre-school Assistants must satisfy the Pre-school Regulations (2016) minimum requirement (Level 5). Please note that a ‘grandfather declaration’ will not suffice for a pre-school assistant in the ECCE room where an application for higher capitation is being made.
The ECCE Higher Capitation rate must be applied for on an annual basis. Please refer to the DCYA website to see the ECCE Higher Capitation Application Process for Services 2016/17 and to download the ECCE Higher Capitation Rate Application Form.