What qualifications do I need to work in childcare?

Find out what qualifications you need to work in childcare.

Qualification Requirements

Qualification Requirements

You can now check if your qualification meets the requirements as The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have released a list of Early Years Recognised Qualifications.

 

Minimum Qualification

From 31 December 2016, as stated in the Child Care Act (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, all staff working directly with children must hold a minimum of QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education.

This regulation will not apply to persons working in the sector who signed the grandfathering clause, before 30 June 2016, that stated he or she intends to retire from employment in a pre-school service before 1 September 2021.

 

ECCE Room Leader Qualification

If you are providing the ECCE scheme all ECCE room leaders must hold a minimum QQI Level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education (or equivalent) from December 2016. This is a requirement of the ECCE contract.

A higher capitation is available to Preschool Services where the Preschool Leader has achieved a major award in early childhood care and education at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and where the assistants have achieved the minimum Level 5 Award.

National Framework of Qualifications

 

What other training do I need to have?

 

Manual Handling The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (general application) Regulations 2007, all educators are required to have Manual Handling training.

First Aid First Aid Training:The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) are presently in the process of transitioning from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Occupational First Aid (OFA) learner training standard to PHECC’s First Aid Response (FAR).

Túsla have advised, in their frequently asked questions document on the regulations, that early years’ staff who are availing of first aid training for the first time should undertake the First Aid Response (FAR) training from a training provider – also known as a “recognised institution” – approved by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC).

Providers who have recently completed first aid training which was not the accredited FAR course and who are not required to update their certificate for 2 years have been advised that when their certification is due for renewal they undertake a first aid refresher course with an instructor who is approved by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council. This instructor will assess first aid skills and will advise whether they require additional training.

Fire Safety

Child Protection All staff should have training in basic Child Protection training. Each service must have a designated Child Protection Officer on premises at all times.

Food Handling and Preparation Service that provide food for children are required to have staff who are trained in food safety. The Environmental Health Officers Association recommends:

  1. Room Leaders/ Assistants

Room Leaders/Assistants are required to have completed a minimum of a 3 hour food safety awareness course. Early Childhood Ireland provide the Food Safety Awareness Level 1 course for educators.

  1. Cook/ Chef

The Cook/Chef who work more closely with food (i.e cook, food preparation, supervisor of deliveries) should have the Environmental Health Officers Association approved Primary Food Handlers Certificate or an equivalent ie. QQI Level 5 Food Safety/Hygiene (if services take in prepared food from external caterers the supervisor/manager must be trained). Early Childhood Ireland provide Primary Food Handlers Certificate courses.

  1. HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point)

Managers/owners and/or the cook should be able to manage HACCP systems. They should also have a good understanding of how to implement a HACCP Programme for their workplace. All food businesses are required by law to have a food safety management system in place based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point). HACCP is a system that allows you to identify and control any hazards that could pose a danger to the preparation of safe food. It involves identifying what can go wrong, planning to prevent it and making sure you are doing it. Early Childhood Ireland has a HACCP Record Management Publication which is designed to be a complete record keeping system for HACCP in your service.

 

 

Overseas Qualification Requirements

What qualifications do I need to work in Ireland?

From 31 December 2016, as stated in the Child Care Act (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, all staff working directly with children must hold a minimum of QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education.

This regulation will not apply to persons working in the sector who signed the grandfathering clause, before 30 June 2016, that stated he or she intends to retire from employment in a pre-school service before 1 September 2021.

  • To work in Early Childhood Care and Education with children under the age of 3 years, all early years’ practitioners need a minimum NFQ level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education.
  • To work with over 3’s, in a room leader (standard) the minimum requirement is a NFQ Level 6 in Early Childhood Care and Education, and can range up to a BA/ degree level.
  • The higher capitation/ room leader is minimum level 7 on the NFQ in Early Childhood Care and Education. However, you can work with a NFQ Level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education in an assistant role.

 

To see if your qualification is recognised, please visit, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs website to view the Early Years DCYA Recognised Qualifications

Online portal 

If you cannot see your qualification on this document, or you are not sure where your qualification is placed on the Irish NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), you should check with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland). For international qualifications, QQI operate the Irish NARIC which shows compatibility between Irish and international qualification levels.

 

Employment in Early Childhood Care and Education in Ireland

Visit our Jobsboard for further information on positions available within the early years in Ireland.

 

What documents do I need to become familiar with to work with children in Ireland?

For inspection process, we have two main bodies who inspect the Early Years Services –

Ireland has two frameworks which are in place to support quality experiences for children engaging with Early Childhood Care and Education from birth – five years.

  • Aistear: The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.
  • Síolta: The National Quality Framework

The Aistear Síolta Practice Guide supports practitioners in using Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009a) and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (2006) together to develop the quality of their curriculum and in doing so, to better support children’s learning and development.

 

Other useful links / information

Affordable Childcare Scheme (ACS)

ECCE Free Pre-School Year

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

 

Keep up-to-date with sector developments through Facebook page, Vimeo and Twitter

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  • Overseas qualification

 

Become a member

Join Early Childhood Ireland today and become part of the professional body that represents over 25,000 childcare educators in Ireland, supporting over 100,000 children and their families across the country. Becoming a member of Early Childhood Ireland will immediately connect you with thousands of others in the sector who share your interests, passions, needs and concerns.

Requirements to meet the capitation grants

A higher capitation fee is payable to pre-school service providers where all pre-school leaders delivering the pre-school service hold a bachelor degree in childhood/early education (minimum of Level 7 on the NFQ or equivalent) and have three years of experience working in the sector, and where all pre-school assistants in the service hold a relevant major award in childcare/early education at level 5 on the NFQ or its equivalent.

To apply for Higher Capitation you will need apply to the DCYA by downloading ECCE form 10.

Not all Level 7 or 8 awards are acceptable as qualifying for the higher capitation fee.  In order for an award to qualify, it must include significant content in core knowledge areas such as child development 0-6 years and early childhood education theory and practice.  For example, secondary school teaching qualifications are not acceptable as they do not cover these core knowledge areas.

As with lower level awards, international awards at higher level may be recognised as meeting the qualification criteria.  The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland can advise on the equivalent level of the award on the Irish NFQ (www.qualrec.ie).  However, the Childcare Directorate reserves the right to determine the relevance of the content of the award.

It is stressed that the higher qualified staff attracting the higher capitation rate must work directly with the children at all times during the ECCE sessions.  If this rule is not observed, services are in breach of their contractual obligations, and will lose the higher capitation rate.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has issued information in regard to Montessori Qualifications and the ECCE scheme.

Montessori Qualifications and the ECCE scheme

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has issued information in regard to Montessori Qualifications and the ECCE scheme:

Department of Children and Youth Affairs – Acknowledgement of Montessori Qualifications

 

 

Introduction

The introduction of universal pre-school provision and with it the requirement that pre-school leaders should have a minimum of a full Award at Level 5 to qualify for the standard capitation rate and a full Award at Level 7 to qualify for the higher capitation rate, has left a number of people with difficulties in getting recognition for their qualifications.

 

There are 3 different categories:

  1. Graduates of the Montessori College in Milltown, Dublin
  2. Graduates from the Higher Diploma in Arts in Early Childhood Montessori Education run by St Nicholas Montessori College
  3. Graduates from Diploma programmes in Montessori Education offered by Portobello College and Montessori Education Centre which pre-dated the colleges FETAC accreditation.

These difficulties were identified in 2010. In the absence of a workable solution, the D/CYA has decided that that anyone with these qualifications is giving an amnesty (once certain conditions are fulfilled) and allowed to qualify for the higher capitation rate (in the case of the 1st and 2nd category) and for the standard capitation rate (Montessori Diploma graduates).

 

 

1. Graduates of the Montessori College in Milltown, Dublin holding the 2 year diploma award.

 

The Montessori College in Milltown, Dublin is affiliated to the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and their diploma courses are not on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the graduates who are participating in the ECCE scheme have the 2 year diploma and a decision on whether that 2 year award qualifies an individual for the higher capitation rate was deferred pending the outcome of the alignment process of the AMI award with the NFQ. That alignment process has been paused while the new agency, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, reviews all of its inherited policies in order to determine their consistency and continued appropriateness to its functions.
As the higher capitation rate was introduced to acknowledge that quality in an early years service is directly related to the qualifications of the staff working with children, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will acknowledge the specialised pedagogical training and is prepared to award the higher capitation rate to AMI graduates up to and including graduates in the 2009/2010 year (all other qualifying criteria being met). The cut-off year is because the requirement for a Level 7 qualification was known by 2010.

 

 

2. Graduates from the St Nicholas Higher Diploma in Arts in Early Childhood Montessori Education.

St Nicholas Montessori College in DunLaoghaire offers a range of HETAC accredited programmes in Montessori Education. Amongst these currently is a Level 8 Higher Diploma in Arts in Early Childhood Montessori Education which is offered as a post graduate one year course and is a major award at Level 8. The course was originally rejected as eligible for the higher capitation grant as the content did not equal the Bachelor degree offered over three years and did not require a relevant discipline as an undergraduate qualification for access to the programme. Since then a programmatic review of all St Nicholas awards has taken place in 2012 and new programmes at Level 7 and 8 have been agreed by HETAC. St Nicholas have revised the criteria for entry onto the Higher Diploma and now require a cognate undergraduate degree as an entry requirement.
The higher capitation rate was introduced to acknowledge that quality in an early year’s service is directly related to the qualifications of the staff working with children. The pedagogical content of this course is at a much deeper level than that offered in Level 5 courses. For that reason, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will acknowledge the specialised training and is prepared to award the higher capitation rate for pre-school leaders with this qualification (all other criteria being met).

 

3. Graduates from the Level 6 programme in Montessori Education offered by private colleges including Portobello College/Montessori Education Centre.

In 2005, Portobello College applied for and received accreditation for a suite of 6 component awards in Montessori Education at Level 6. They ran the programme in October 2005 with the first graduates receiving FETAC accredited awards in 2006. It wasn’t possible to retrospectively assess programmes delivered prior to FETAC accreditation so graduates prior to 2006 have diplomas that were awarded by the colleges themselves. When the ECCE scheme was first introduced, there was an expectation that an RPL system would be introduced to allow individuals who held non-nationally accredited awards to demonstrate that they had sufficient depth of knowledge to be a pre-school leader and qualify for the standard capitation rate. Because there isn’t an RPL system in place 3 years on from the introduction of the ECCE scheme, a person holding a non-nationally accredited qualification cannot get recognition for the course they attended. The DCYA has decided that an amnesty should apply for people holding non-nationally accredited qualifications from Portobello and from the Montessori Education Centre that pre-dated FETAC accreditation and where the course was of, at least, a year’s duration. These graduates are eligible for the standard capitation rate (all other conditions being met)

 

If you are unsure about your Montessori qualification please call the Training Organisation where you did your training.

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