Written answers

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Department of Health and Children

Child Care Services

2:30 pm

Photo of Michael D'ArcyMichael D'Arcy (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Question 145: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if an application can be made for a child (details supplied) in County Wexford already on the early childhood care and education scheme in one Montessori school to switch to another Montessori school at this time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4659/11]

Photo of Barry AndrewsBarry Andrews (Minister of State with special responsibility for Children and Young People, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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I have responsibility for the implementation of the free Preschool Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which was introduced in January 2010. This is a universal scheme which provides children with a free preschool year prior to commencing primary school.

Approximately 4,300 preschool services, 95% of those operating in the State, are participating in the ECCE scheme and 63,000 children, or 94% of the eligible cohort, are availing of the preschool year. Services participating in the scheme are contracted by my Office to provide the preschool year in return for the payment of an annual capitation fee. The capitation fee is paid to services on a term by term basis in respect of all eligible children enrolled with them at the start of that term.

Children are normally enrolled for the preschool year in a service in September of each year and, in the vast majority of cases, will complete the year in that service. However it is recognised that cases will arise where a parent will wish to move their child to another service, during the course of the year. The scheme accommodates this as far as possible by allowing transfers between services to be made at the start of each term with a consequent transfer in capitation funding. When account is taken of the fact that the services are required to employ specified numbers of qualified Preschool Leaders and Preschool Assistants, it is considered that this approach provides a reasonable balance for all parties.

To apply for a transfer, the parent in question should request the preschool provider currently being attended to complete and submit a Transfer Form to the Child-care Directorate of my Office, at least three weeks before the end of this term and preferably by 4 March 2011.

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