Early Years (Pre-school) Regulations and DCYA Childcare Programmes Qualification Requirements

dcya logo largeA list of Early Years DCYA Recognised Qualifications for the purposes of meeting the minimum qualification requirement in the pending Early Years Regulations and for meeting the contractual requirements for the DCYA Childcare Funding Programmes has been published.

This list will enable employees working in the Early Years sector in Ireland to verify whether the qualifications they hold will be recognised.

This list also sets out the qualifications that will be recognised for the purposes of the DCYA Childcare Programmes, in particular, that of the qualification requirement for the room leader in the ECCE programme and for a service to receive the ECCE Higher Capitation rate.

Where a qualification is not published on the list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications but the holder considers it to be an appropriate Major Award at Level 5 on the NFQ or equivalent, the holder can apply to have their qualification assessed for approval. If it is approved for recognition the details of the qualification will be added to the list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications

The Published list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications can be downloaded here.

The list will be converted into a searchable database in the near future and will be updated on a regular basis as other qualifications are approved.

The Application Form for Qualifications Recognition can be downloaded here.

A new Learner Fund to assist existing employees in Early Years Services to up-skill to the required minimum qualification for the purposes of the pending Regulations has also been announced. Local City and County Childcare Committees will liaise with services prior to the official launch of the Learner Fund, which will be in the near future.

Grandfather Declaration

The option to sign the Grandfather Declaration is open to staff members who do not hold a minimum Level 5 qualification and who intend to retire from the sector within a few years. A Grandfathering Declaration gives the Signee an exemption, after September 2015 from the requirement to have a L5 (only) qualification. The declaration is not applicable to the requirement for the L6 i.e. for the ECCE room Leaders.  Any Early Years staff member (other than the ECCE room Leader) who as yet does not have a Major award at Level 5 and who intends to retire from working in the sector within 7 years (i.e. before September 2021) will be eligible to sign this declaration.  Persons who sign the Declaration will, over the coming months, receive a letter from the Minister confirming that s/he is exempt from the minimum qualification requirement which will be set out in the Child Care Regulations until 1st September 2021, after which the person will no longer be eligible to work with children in an early years setting.

The following should be noted:

  • Persons who receive support under Learner Fund, will NOT be permitted to sign a Declaration.
  • Persons who have already signed a Grandfather Declaration, but who now decide to proceed with training and apply for support under Learner Fund, may withdraw their Declaration but should be advised that they will NOT be permitted to sign the Declaration at a later stage.
  • The Grandfather Declaration will not be accepted in the case of a pre-school leader or pre-school assistant in the pre-school room where the service is in receipt of higher capitation. In such services, all the pre-school leaders must hold at least a Level 7 qualification, and all the pre-school assistants must hold at least a Level 5 qualification.

You can get this declaration by:

  • Coming into the Wicklow County Childcare office with your PPSN Number, completing the Grandfathering Declaration, signing and dating it and witnessed by the CCC staff member who also signs it and Wicklow CCC also stamps the original.
  • Wicklow CCC keeps a scanned copy of the signed declaration (as a soft copy for our records) and the practioner takes away the original signed and stamped Declaration.
  • The practioner is responsible for their own original signed declaration.
  • The practioner can give a copy to their employer. The inspectorate or compliance officer can be shown a copy or the original as evidence of an exemption for the L5. This signed and stamped declaration can be presented to an inspector or compliance officer in lieu of a L5 Major Award cert. i.e. a service will not be considered to be non compliant on the basis that this staff member does not have a Major L5 qualification, as this declaration will exempt the signee.

At a later date when the practioner is actually retiring from the sector, they confirm this with the CCC, who will add this information to their records: Confirmed (Date of retirement) as confirmed by (Name) on (Date confirmed) to their own records.


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