Budget 2016 contains a number of important measures to improve childcare services, including an extension of free pre-school from 1 September next. Information about the main improvements are on our website, and we will shortly add a set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
We will be working on the exact details of the improvements as we prepare for implementation, and we will communicate these as soon as they are available.
We have set up an email address for your questions and we will publish our answers as soon as possible. Please submit your queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the main queries coming in at the moment is as below. I am forwarding the response to this query to all, for information in lieu of the full FAQ document being available as yet. – For all other queries please refer people to the email@example.com mailbox where we will be gathering questions to develop a comprehensive FAQ document for publication.
Q. My child is eligible for ECCE this year but as I don’t intend on him/her starting primary school until September 2017 I was waiting until September 2016 to use the ECCE entitlement. If I register my child for the ECCE Programme now will s/he also be eligible for ECCE for the 2016/17 Programme year?
Currently, children who are aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months (Born between 2nd February 2011 and 30th June 2012 inclusive) are eligible for 38 weeks’ of free pre-school when they register for the programme.
The change announced in Budget 2016 means that, from September 2016, children will be able to register for free pre-school when they are aged 3, and will be able to remain in pre-school until they make the transition to primary school (provided they are not older 5 years 6 months at the end of the pre-school year i.e. the end of June).
The change to the pre-school programme announced in yesterday’s budget take effect from September 2016.
Children who are currently enrolled for the free pre-school programme (i.e. on the basis of the eligibility criteria which applied in September this year) will be able to continue in the programme in September 2016 – once they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the current pre-school year i.e. June 2017)
From September 2016 the minimum enrolment age for free pre-school is age 3.