New report points to 'affordability, sustainability and quality' within the childcare/early years sector

Minister Zappone launches 2016 /2017 Early Years Sector Profile

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan


New report points to 'affordability, sustainability and quality' within the childcare/early years sector

ictured at the launch of the 2016 /2017 Early Years Sector Profile are Denis Leamy, CEO, Pobal, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD; Kellyann Mc Grory, Co-author of the

Minister Katherine Zappone has launched the 2016/2017 Early Years Sector Profile developed and published by Pobal for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.


The report, which presents an overview of the early years sector in Co Longford for the academic year 2016/2017 is based on survey responses from 3,707 services across Ireland (84% of all childcare facilities) in May 2017 and information from the childcare ICT system (PIP).

There are currently 250 childcare staff in Longford where the annual staff turnover is 21.6%.

The total number of children enrolled in services across the county is 1,667; there are 101 vacant places and the number of children on waiting lists is 152.  

In total there are estimated to be over 186,000 children attending early years services across Ireland and the number of children availing of government funded childcare places increased by 41% to over 147k in the last 12 months.

Nationally, the cost of a full-time childcare place has increased by just over €7 to €174.16 after five years of fees remaining the same.

Fees are more expensive in affluent areas, in cities, and in private facilities.

Looking at staff, the childcare sector employs over 27,000 staff, almost 24,000 of whom work with children.

The average national qualification level of childcare staff has increased, with 92% qualified to NFQ level 5 (up 4%) and 63% to level 6 (up 6%).

Half of all childcare staff work part-time, while two in five work seasonal contracts.

On average, childcare staff nationally earn €11.93 per hour; half of these comprising of early years assistants earning an average of €10.88 per hour.

The staff turnover rate nationally in the last 12 months was 28.2%.

“This report adds to the growing body of evidence needed to target increased investment in early years,” the Minister added.

“It provides insights on other important policy priorities, like affordability, sustainability and quality, and will be critical in guiding this rapidly expanding sector in future years.”

Denis Leamy, Pobal CEO also pointed out that Early Years Sector Profile, which Pobal has published for the last 15 years, is a definitive source of accurate and factual information on the sector.

“I would like to thank the childcare services that gave their time to respond to the survey,” he continued.

“I am very proud of Pobal’s development of this report to assist our colleagues in government in their role as policy makers.

“It is also an important information source in the national discussion on the direction of childcare in the future.”

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