Using school buildings for the provision of after-school childcare could help reduce costs for parents and guardians, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Chair of the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee, Alan Farrell, said: “Making use of school buildings, where it is feasible, to allow for the provision of after-school childcare could benefit many families through reducing the cost of childcare.
“For too long, childcare costs have acted as a second mortgage payment, representing up to 40% of outgoing income for the average family and placing a significant financial burden on parents and guardians. This would also assist parents, who wish to return to work, in doing so.
“Having recently visited one school in my constituency where after-school childcare was offered, I have seen the ease by which such services could be offered in schools throughout our country.
“Where there is additional space in a school, either in a classroom or a hall, it would be possible for a childcare provider to establish a presence within a school. Also, where there are no additional rooms, it is possible for such providers to transform a classroom into a suitable space for childcare in a matter of minutes, where that room is free after school hours.
“I must say that I was very impressed at the level of service offered by the provider in this instance.
“While the expansion of such a system would have obvious benefits for families in Dublin Fingal and across the country, it could also benefit schools themselves. By utilising space in their schools for after-school childcare services, schools would receive non-commercial rent.
“Of course, this would not be as much as would be paid by childcare facilities leasing private facilities, however, it would be monies which the school could use to enhance and supplement the education provided to students throughout the day.
“The payment of non-commercial rent by the childcare provider would reduce their costs, and subsequently reduce the costs of childcare for families in the local area, while also allow children, particularly at primary level, to enter after-school care in a building with which they are comfortable, allowing the implementation of a more holistic approach to the care our children receive.”