With almost 400 responses, our first survey on the proposed Core Funding Contract provides Early Childhood Ireland with a 10% response rate which is regarded as representative for surveys of this type. More than half of the respondents also provided commentary on their answers. The survey results provide vital data to inform and support our overall analysis and response to the government’s proposals.
Members have engaged with the ‘Ready Reckoner’ in huge numbers.
One finding of serious concern is that almost 6 in 10 members say they will not be able to continue providing high-quality services to children.
A similar proportion says that they will not be able to continue to employ the same number of staff.
70% of members say they will be able to keep the same number of rooms open.
Most members report they will retain current service levels in their setting.
70% of members state they have not received enough information to make a decision about core funding.
Unsurprisingly given the previous replies, there are mixed views about applying for the new funding.
As we have said from the outset, Early Childhood Ireland believes that Core Funding has the potential to make a vital link between increased investment and quality for children thereby bringing Ireland closer to an inclusive and accessible model of service provision. While this continues to be the case, we have identified a series of concerns that are also reflected in many member responses.
- The new contract needs to value and sustain the current diversity of settings. By this, we mean the location and local context in which members operate and the type of services they are providing to families. Smaller settings are raising questions about their sustainability and their overall place in the long-term plans of the government.
- The linking of a still undetermined Employment Regulation Order with the proposed funding is a cause of concern. Clarity is needed on this as soon as possible.
- The impact of increased and escalating inflation is linked by some to the public discourse about fee freezing and caps.
- The contract itself and when it will be available for careful consideration by our members.
As well as completing the survey, hundreds of members have contacted us with further questions and comments. All of this, along with the work of our Member Reference Group, is already being used to inform our engagement with the Department of Children and other decision-makers.
We are grateful to members for the ongoing efforts, and we will continue to provide regular updates. There is still time to contact us confidentially with the outcome of your ‘Ready Reckoner’ and an overall comment about your current thinking, by email. Thanks again to all of those who have done so already.