Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has said that the provision of €1.5 million to improve the qualifications of pre-school workers will help improve the quality of care and education provided to young children across the county.
“This funding will help practitioners in Early Childhood Care and Education to undertake training and will support the expansion of the free pre-school programme.
“I know that for parents the quality of care and education provided to their children is of vital importance. We know that children benefit most from pre-school when provision is high quality, and staff qualifications are a good indicator of quality. Today’s ‘Leader Fund 4’ announcement builds on a range of initiatives to support better quality in the pre-school sector.
“This also marks the first of a series of new measures designed to support the expansion of free pre-school announced in Budget 2016. The measures will increase the number of children benefiting from free pre-school from about 67,000 currently, to around 127,000 in a given programme year.
“The expansion of free pre-school applies from September 2016, when the minimum qualification requirement for ‘ECCE Room Leaders’ will be a Level 6 Award on the National Qualifications Framework.
“To date more than 3,000 staff has been supported through previous Learner Funds to raise their qualification level in Early Childhood Care and Education.
“The expansion of the free pre-school programme and investment in the training of pre-school workers is part of Fine Gael’s commitment to strategic investment in childcare, to increase affordability, quality and accessibility. Fine Gael has a long term plan to keep the recovery going. We are seeing economic progress, with over 135,000 more people at work. More people in work allows more investment in better services like these.”