Changes to the Free Pre-School Year…the detail explained

There’s great news for parents of pre-school children with the announcement of the extension of the free pre-school year in the budget yesterday.

From September 2016, every child will be eligible at the age of three until they start primary school which has greatly increased access; and children will be able to enrol in the ECCE scheme at the start of each term in September, January and April which makes it much more flexible for parents.

This will be really positive for young children as they will have a longer time in pre-school and will be ready to start school. Currently children are entitled to 38 weeks of free early education but under the new arrangements, many children could benefit from up to 23 additional weeks depending on when their birthday falls.

The scheme will also be funded at a higher level of €2,450 per annum which works out as €204 per month (it is currently €2,375 per annum).

Some examples of how we expect it will work from September 2016:

• If a child turns three in August 2016, they will join the ECCE programme in September 2016 and will remain in pre-school until they choose to start school in either September 2017 or September 2018.
• If a child turns three in November 2016, they will join the scheme in January 2017 and stay until they start school in September 2018.
• If a child turns three in February 2017, they would join pre-school in April 2017 and stay in the ECCE programme until they start school in September 2018.

We’ll be able to help you with all the detail once your child turns three. For more information, call us on (01) 2450935


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