Key findings at a glance:
- Nine in every ten children enrolled in early learning and care and school-age childcare settings (185,971 children in total) were in receipt of State subsidies provided through at least one of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs funding programmes.
- 2,388 settings were supported under the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), in respect of 5,513 children. Relative to the previous year, there was a 22% increase in the number of settings receiving support under AIM and an increase of 34% in the number of children supported.
- The average weekly fee for full day provision is €184.36. This represents an increase of €6.44 or 3.6% since last year. Fees charged by settings in affluent locations, on average are 33% higher than settings in disadvantages areas. Fees are also higher in urban areas than in rural areas (€191.33 and €165.76, respectively for full day provision per week), and in private settings than in community settings (€190.74 and €168.12, respectively for full day provision per week).
- The proportion of staff who hold a degree increased by 5% since 2016/17 – with one in four staff now holding a qualification at Level 7 or higher on the National Framework for Qualifications
- The average hourly wage of staff working in the sector is €12.55. This represents a 3% increase on the previous year’s average hourly wage of €12.17.
- The annual staff turnover rate is 23%, which is down from 25% the previous year. Staff turnover rates differ across counties, from 15% in Kilkenny to 36% in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
The Minister for the Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone today launched the Early Years Sector Profile Report 2018/2019.
This annual report – the seventeenth in the series – provides a detailed overview of the early learning and care and school age childcare sector in Ireland, including the numbers of children enrolled in early learning and care and school-age childcare settings and the numbers of children in receipt of State subsidies. It also includes up-to-date information on the number of places available to children, the fees charged to parents, and the qualifications and wages of staff working in the sector.
The Report, which plays a central role in informing policy development and in assessing the impact of policy change, is based on survey and administrative data and is undertaken by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. 3,821 early learning and care and school-age childcare settings participated in the survey in May 2019, yielding a response rate of 85%.
Speaking at today’s launch, Minister Zappone thanked all the early learning and care and school-age childcare providers who participated in the survey and reflected on some of the key findings.
The Minister said: “The data in the report gives me much to be optimistic about. The numbers of children benefitting from State-subsidised or State-funded Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare has grown again this year. We are seeing greater numbers of children with additional learning needs benefitting from State funding programmes. As with previous years, there are high levels of engagement in Continuous Professional Development by the workforce and the growth in graduates in the workforce – now 25% of all staff working directly with children – shows real progress towards meeting our 2028 graduate target of 50%, which is set out in First 5.”
The Minister also highlighted areas of continued and emerging concern, including the increase in fees charged to parents, supply issues for certain cohorts of children in certain geographical areas and staff wages, which remain unacceptably low despite slight increases in fees since last year.
Concluding the Minister said: “Work is underway to build on our recent successes and address existing and emerging challenges. Supported by unprecedented levels of State investment, guided by a range of ambitious commitments in First 5, facilitated by the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) – which offers us a flexible and sustainable platform to invest in Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare. Together with a highly committed workforce, I look forward to continuing our journey towards Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare that is affordable, accessible, inclusive and high quality.”
Anna Shakespeare, Pobal CEO added:
“The Early Years Sector Profile Report, developed and published on an annual basis by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, provides vital insights and analysis into the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector. As in previous years, the data gathered has highlighted key trends within the sector and plays an important role in informing and guiding early learning and care and school-age childcare policy”.
The 2018/2019 Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report is available here.