National Childcare Funding Programmes

National Childcare Scheme (NCS)     

For more information on this scheme and how to apply, please go to: https://ncs.gov.ie/en/ 

The Parent Support Centre for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is open Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm. The contact number is: (01) 906 8530

NCS Sponsors: Dedicated Phone Line/Email Address. The NCS Sponsors Team can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm by phone at 01 906 8535 or by email at sponsors@ncs.gov.ie. Please note that the NCS Sponsors Team can only support on Sponsor-related queries. 

The Early Years Provider Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am - 6.00pm. The contact number is: (01) 5117222 or email: EYPC@pobal.ie  

Free Preschool (ECCE) Scheme - Eligibility Calendar

Please click on the link below (Click Media) for eligibility dates for the Free Pre-school (ECCE) scheme:

https://www.childcare.ie/ecce-calculator

Budget 2022:

For the Budget 2022 overview and further information for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School-Age Childcare (SAC) providers and parents.

Please click here to download documents.

Core Funding  & Ready Reckoner Online Tool

As per letter issued on the 07.03.2022 by Roderic O’Gorman, TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth.

Core Funding is a new funding stream for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services introduced in Budget 2022 and informed by the work of the Expert Group to develop a new funding model for ELC and SAC, outlined in Partnership for the Public Good: A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare.

Core Funding is a payment to providers designed to meet the combined objectives of:

  • Improved quality through better pay and conditions for the workforce;
  • Supporting the establishment of an Employment Regulation Order through the Joint Labour Committee;
  • Supporting the employment of graduate staff;
  • Improved affordability for parents by ensuring that fees do not increase; and
  • Improved sustainability and stability for services. 

Important note: In order for Core Funding to proceed as outlined in this notice, an
Employment Regulation Order must be agreed by the Joint Labour Committee and in effect
in advance of the first payments.

The Ready Reckoner is a lightweight calculator to support services to estimate their potential indicative value of Core Funding. The Ready Reckoner can be accessed and used on the Hive by anyone. Users will enter high level information relating to an ELC and/or SAC service to estimate the potential indicative value of Core Funding. This is not an exact calculation, it is designed to give an idea of what services can expect based on their characteristics and to allow any interested party to test different scenarios.

Because the Ready Reckoner is not an exact calculation, it should not be relied upon for detailed financial planning. It is designed to give an idea of what to expect only and to allow providers to test different scenarios. The Ready Reckoner also does not assess eligibility for Core Funding. It is available to be used by any interested party. Use of the Ready Reckoner does not imply that a service will definitely be eligible for Core Funding. 

Important note: The other funding streams such as ECCE (standard capitation), NCS, AIM, CCSP and TEC as well as parents fees all continue to be available to services in addition to the Core Funding allocation. However, Programme Support Payments and ECCE Higher Capitation are no longer available as they are incorporated into Core Funding.

Funding guarantee

The change in approach to funding may mean that a very small number of providers (estimated to be approximately 50 in total or 1% of providers) may receive somewhat less in Core Funding to what they had previously received in Higher Capitation payments and Programme Support Payments (PSP) combined. This affects a small number of services who have particularly benefited from the previous approach to Higher Capitation by having large ECCE groups with high occupancy. For this small number of providers, DCEDIY are issuing a funding guarantee whereby, under Core Funding, providers will receive the same level of funding as they received from Higher Capitation and PSP, assuming the numbers of children, graduate staff and type of service offered remains the same in the 2022/23 programme year as in 2021/22.

Please click on the link below for technical guidelines for the new Ready Reckoner Tool:

https://earlyyearshive.ncs.gov.ie/how-to-guides/corefundingguides/readyreckoner-guide/

Please click on the link below for the Ready Reckoner Tool itself & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

https://earlyyearshive.ncs.gov.ie/ReadyReckoner/

December 2021 - Launch of Major Reform for Funding and the Workforce Development Plan 2022 - 2028

Two Reports launched by Minister O'Gorman:

  • Partnership for the Public Good (A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care & School Age Care) 
  • Nurturing Skills (Workforce Development Plan for Early Learning and Care & School Age Care 2022 - 2028).

Press Releases:

Please click here to view the press release for the report Partnership for the Public Good.

Please click here to view the press release for the report Nurturing Skills.

The Reports:

Please click here to view the report Partnership for the Public Good.

Please click here to download the report Nurturing Skills (At the end of page on link).

The Webinar:

Please click here to view the Webinar launching the reports.