Further flexibility announced to overage exemptions to free pre-school programme pending outcome of consultation process

Further flexibility announced to overage exemptions to free pre-school programme pending outcome of consultation process

Statement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone

 

Monday 5th March, 2018

Parents of children with disabilities who are now deciding whether to defer their child’s entry into free pre-school will be able to avail of two full years irrespective of any future policy changes, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Following the decision last December to allow for a consultation process on proposed changes to the rules on overage exemptions in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme, the Minister has now acted to address concerns raised by some parents who are facing imminent choices about their children’s education.

This means that parents of children born over autumn months (i.e. from September to December) can defer their children’s start date from September 2018 (when the child will be between 2 year 8 months and 2 years 11 months) to September 2019 (when the child will be between 3 year 8 months and 3 years 11 months) and continue to avail of 2 full years of the ECCE Programme (or 76 consecutive ECCE weeks). As a consequence, an exemption to the upper age limit in the ECCE Programme will be maintained for this cohort for this period of time.

The Minister also advised that details of the consultation process are being finalised and will be published shortly.