Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/2021

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has launched the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report for 2020/21.

The report is produced annually by Pobal on behalf of the DCEDIY and is the nineteenth in the series to date. The comprehensive report provides a detailed overview of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) sector in Ireland, including information on the numbers of children participating in DCEDIY funded programmes and schemes, ELC and SAC fees, staff wages, qualifications and turnover within the sector, pertaining to the 2020/21 programme year.

Marking the launch of the Report, Minister O’Gorman thanked all providers who participated in the survey, reflected on some of the key findings and said:

“I am very pleased to publish the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/21. As evidenced in this Report, 2021 marked another difficult year for the sector owing to Covid-19. I would like to pay tribute to providers and their staff for their display of leadership, resilience and child and family-centredness throughout the pandemic”

Notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, 2021 marked many positive developments across the sector. As a result of the significant Covid-19 supports from the State, services could continue to operate sustainably and retain their staff, even during the suspension of the ECCE programme in 2021 and periods of restricted access to services. Remarkably, the number of services that closed in 2021 was lower than in previous years and the number of staff in the sector held steady. Importantly, the additional costs of operating during Covid-19 were not passed on to parents through increased fees, meeting an important and shared objective of the State and of providers.

I would like to extend my thanks to the City and County Childcare Committees and Voluntary Childcare Organisations for their continued support in promoting the Annual Early Years Sector Profile and to Pobal who managed data collection, analysis and reporting of results.”

The Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/21 is based on information collected between 28 May and 18 June 2021 during an unusual programme year when the COVID-19 pandemic continued to present challenges. While there was no prolonged closure of services during this period, as had been the case in the spring and summer of 2020, services were open only to children of essential workers and those from vulnerable families in Quarter 1 of 2021.

Despite these difficult circumstances, 2,520 providers completed the survey, showing their commitment to providing evidence and information that will contribute to Government policy-making for the sector.

Anna Shakespeare, Pobal’s CEO added:

Pobal has been at the forefront of collecting and analysing this important information about the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector in Ireland through the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report for 19 years and I very much welcome the publication of the 2020/2021 report knowing that the information and analysis included has become even more important this year in helping the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to plan for the delivery of accessible and high-quality Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare to all children in Ireland.

“Additionally, the data from the 2020/21 report has played a pivotal role in assisting the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in their continued response to the global pandemic to ensure that adequate measures were in place to support the sector during what has been an exceptionally challenging time for the services who participated in the survey.

“Pobal is very proud to have the opportunity to work with DCEDIY on this important piece of research and analysis of the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector.”

Resources

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