Newsletter week ending 24th September 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Here are the deadlines, important dates, and announcements for the week of 20 – 24 September 2021.


Tuesday 28 September 2021

  • Deadline for CCSP Finance and Impact returns (FIRS) for August 2021

Friday 1 October 2021

  • Closing date for Learner Fund applications

Friday 29 October 2021

  • Deadline for new graduate LINC additional capitation applications (see below)

Sunday 31 October 2021

  • Final date for completion of subsidised FAR training course

Monday 1 November 2021

  • Final date for re-registration of ELC services


New contact tracing guidelines

Changes to contact tracing for children attending early years services, school aged childcare services and schools are due to take effect from Monday 27 September. These changes are only in regard to contact tracing; all other sector-specific information remains the same. At the present time, the operation of play pods remains. All sector specific public health guidelines can be found on the First 5 website here.

Revenue’s Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

The EWSS remains in place until 31 December, 2021. Early years services remain exempt from the eligibility criterion of a 30% reduction in turnover until 30 September. The decision on the continuation of the exemption beyond the end of September is expected shortly.

Happy Talk September calendar newsletter.

The September newsletter (attached to this email) is all about the important skill of modelling. The calendar helps us to remember our great communication skills and to play, sign, laugh and chat.

Better Start quality development service webinars

Two more webinars are planned by Better Start. You can hear about the Quality Development Service and how Better Start can work with your setting to provide quality outcomes for children.

 An overview will be provided of the Better Start Quality Development Service and the professional development options that are available to Early Learning and Care settings.

 The next two events will take place between 7.00-8.00pm on Tuesday 5 October and Tuesday 19 October 2021.

 To register, follow this link to the Better Start website’s training and events section:

Work Placement Experience Programme

A new scheme ‘Work Placement Experience Programme’ through the Department of Social Protection allows employers to host a jobseeker on a work experience placement and to help the jobseeker to build new skills and gain valuable work experience. The programme is targeted at jobseekers who are on certain social welfare payments for 6 months(156 days) and want to avail of training and work experience to re-engage with the job market. Employers who host a WPEP participant will provide a placement for 6 months with the participant attending for work experience for 30 hours a week. There is no cost to the host/employer; the participant will be paid by the Department of Social Protection during their work placement. The WPEP payment will be €306 per week. No top-up payments to the participant are permitted.

Please see links below:

The programme is something to keep in mind if providers are looking to hire admin staff, cleaners, cook/kitchen help, etc.

NCS (Overview of the compliance process) Wednesday 6th October 2pm – 3.30pm

Topic covered

• What is a compliance inspection?

• Compliance Approach

• Preparing for a NCS compliance inspection• NCS V Saver schemes/ECCE

• Inspection Process Overview

  • Inspection Phases
  • Inspection Categories
  • Compliance Questions
  • Follow-up
  • Service Provider Portal
  • Financial impact
  • Sanctions
  • Appeals
  • Tips to being NCS compliant
  • Application Validation and Recoupment

Booking through Eventbrite;

Covid Case Support Helplines

There are two helplines available to services who have a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in their service.

The HSE helpline to advise service providers if they have been informed of a Covid-19 case in a child or a staff member will remain active for a short, transition period, following the changes to contact tracing for children. The number is 01 511 9777.

For those services who need support on engaging with the relevant authorities due to a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, there is an out of hours helpline. The number is 1800 940 341. The service will be available Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10.00 – 13.00 and 13.30 – 16.00.

Kind regards

Westmeath County Childcare Committee

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