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The Quality Challenge: The Early Years Strategy Nóirín Hayes Centre for Social and Educational Research

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Presentation on theme: "The Quality Challenge: The Early Years Strategy Nóirín Hayes Centre for Social and Educational Research"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Quality Challenge: The Early Years Strategy Nóirín Hayes Centre for Social and Educational Research

2 Brief context of advisory report on the Early Years Strategy Covers all services and supports from 0-6 years Supports ‘progressive universalism’ Recognises that children have rights Acknowledges the responsibility that, in certain cases, these rights need to be realised for children Quality is a transversal theme throughout

3 Some key quality recommendations to the Early Years Strategy [EYS] Recommendation 21: –prioritise the raising of quality standards across all early care and education services. It should include an explicit aim of ensuring that by the end of the 10-year Early Years Strategy, no child is in a low-quality early care and education service Recommendation 22: –carry out a baseline audit of the quality of early care and education services immediately. This should involve assessment of quality in a representative sample of services, using internationally recognised tools for measuring quality…..

4 Key Recommendations to EYS 2 Pillars of quality practice – Síolta and Aistear: Recommendation 23: –develop a national plan for the phased, supported and simultaneous implementation of the Síolta and Aistear frameworks, to achieve their roll-out at all levels of the early care and education system, including in all services and at the levels of inspectors and trainers themselves….. –… and review of all current quality assurance tools (including both Síolta and Aistear, as well as the Pre-School Regulations and the new National Standards) to ensure that their implementation is coherent and integrated.

5 Quality must rest within the wider policy system Incentivise and support quality Recommendation 25: –directly align public funding for services to the achievement of quality standards in early care and education services. Recommendation 27: establish an ECCE Quality Support Service/National Early Years Mentoring Service based on the development of the role of the County Childcare Committees and using existing expertise within the National Community and Voluntary Organisations to enable services to reach high standards of excellence

6 Quality must rest within the wider policy system Support services and settings Recommendation 28: –significantly increase public investment in early care and education services in order to meet the additional cost of higher quality standards, including the cost of a professionalised workforce. Support staff Recommendation 30: –introduce a training fund to enable those working in early care and education services to gain additional training and provide for regular, funded non-contact time to ensure staff can engage in continuing professional development Recommendation 31: –undertake and follow through on a review of the extent to which Ireland has a ‘competent system’ in early care and education, including in relation to training requirements for service managers ….. and in relation to the qualifications and training of trainers themselves

7 Why quality matters –High-quality early experiences promote the health and well-being of children and families –High quality supports and services enhance early learning and development directly and indirectly [HLE] –Quality early care and education services and supports benefit children, families and society –To enhance quality everyone working with or on behalf of young children and families should communicate and cooperate in an atmosphere of mutual respect and common purpose – across and within departmental through to local level

8 Features of quality in the early years It is the dynamic of quality that influences outcomes most Adults are key Quality interactions matter Quality relationships matter Families Matter Quality child and family supports and services are good for society and cost-effective Early Years services and support Matter Quality support and services can only exist where there is quality staff Quality staff can only exist where there is quality training and support

9 Tackling policies on early years quality Minister Fitzgerald has an 8 point preschool quality agenda which includes: Increasing the qualification requirement for all staff in pre-school services to a minimum standard at FETAC Level 5 Improving the Framework documents and quality standards Introducing a registration system for all pre-school services Publishing National Standards for Preschool Services Taking steps to make the inspection system more consistent and more robust Publishing inspection reports online Ensuring appropriate action is taken in response to findings of non- compliance Increasing and widening the sanctions which can be taken for non- compliance

10 However - - - Consider the focus of the list –Static and measurable aspects of quality [high visibility] at preschool level [rather than the dynamic aspects of quality] –Legislation, regulation, compliance Consider the Department of Children and Youth Affairs remit which –focuses on harmonising policy issues that affect children in areas such as early childhood care and education, youth justice, child welfare and protection, children and young people's participation, research on children and young people, youth work and cross-cutting initiatives for children

11 And other departments? Role of the HSE/Department of Health –Preschool inspection Role of Department of Social Protection –Child Benefit –Various Allowances –Parental Leave

12 And with respect to dynamic quality Role of the Department of Education and Skills –Home department of Síolta and Aistear –Home department of the Workforce Development Plan –Responsible for the quality of training and education providers –Responsible for the quality of education and training programmes –Responsible for Literacy and Numeracy Strategy –Responsible for the infant classes in Primary School

13 For quality early years services and supports An integrated Early Years Strategy A champion for the Early Years Engaged inter departmental collaboration – particularly between the DCYA and the DES Integrated development of policy tools Coordination and implementation targets Integrated evaluation of strategy targets Audit of and support for quality in existing services and settings prior to further developments Local inter agency collaboration

14 Thank You

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