Previous Projects

Here you can access our previous Research projects including the South Dublin NEYAI research project as well as our Salary Survery from 2012.

Capitation Grant & Displacement Survey July 2015

Project Overview

On behalf of our members and in preparation for the upcoming budget asks and general election, Early Childhood Ireland were eager to gather our members’ views on the capitation grants and the issue of displacement.

Research aims and objectives

The research aimed to obtain an accurate picture of what early services practitioners would consider a fair capitation grant and what restrictions they would accept, the issue of displacement and what they thought the next steps should be for the sector.

Links to project report

You can read the full results of the survey here.

Research methods and approaches

An online survey targeting early years services across Ireland.

Funding

Non-applicable.

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this project.

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project.

Conference presentations

There are currently no conference presentations available for this project.

 

Children's Use of Technology in Early Years settings’

Research aims and objectives

The research aimed to obtain an accurate picture of educators’ and parents’ perspectives on children’s use of technology, in both early years settings and at home.

 

Links to project report

You can read the project report here. A version of this report first appeared in the Summer edition of Early Times.

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey targeting early years services and parents of young children across Ireland.

 

Funding

Non-applicable.

 

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this project.

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project.

 

Conference presentations

There are currently no conference presentations available for this project.

Children with Additional Needs – Working for an Inclusive Practice 2015

Research aims and objectives

The research aimed to obtain an accurate picture of educators’ and parents’ perspectives on including children with additional needs in early childhood settings in order to identify the most successful strategies and practices

Links to project report

Based on this research, the following two submissions were sent to Oireachtas Committees:

Research methods and approaches

An online survey targeting early years services and parents of children with additional needs across Ireland. Focus groups with educators and parents of children with additional needs.

Funding

Non-applicable.

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this project.

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project.

Conference presentations

There are currently no conference presentations available for this project.

Early Childhood Ireland Salary Survey 2012

Introduction

Early Childhood Ireland conducted a survey in September 2012 to provide members with information on the current levels of pay and salaries in the early childcare and education sector in Ireland.  During the year, many members contact us seeking information on salary and wages in the sector.

We know from experience and from research that the adult is the key to quality in early childhood care and education services.  Our recently undertaken salary survey has highlighted yet again the low pay for those working directly with young children and families.

Out of our salary survey Early Childhood Ireland is stating that:

 

  1. Qualifications in the sector must count
  2. Rates of pay must increase to reflect the importance of early childhood care and education
  3. The sector must have access to a training fund which allows for continuing professional development.

 

In this summary Early Childhood Ireland is reporting on information submitted by those working in the sector. We recognise that, and it was clearly echoed in the survey, while employers’ value staff, in most cases the current rates and salaries in the sector do not reflect staff qualifications. The value of this survey lies in the trends and patterns that emerge.

Early Childhood Ireland is not recommending this framework as a salary scale, those decisions lie with employers in the sector.  We see this report as a map, reflecting the current landscape in early childhood care and education. It is a starting point.

 

Who Took Part?

Over 400 participants completed the salary survey representing 1653 employees and 97% of these respondents were Early Childhood Ireland members.

Sixty nine per cent of those surveyed were from the private early child care and education sector; with the remaining 31% coming from community sector (of these 79% of these were part time / sessional child care providers).

Eighteen per cent of employed staff represented in this survey had no qualifications, 66% had a FETAC 5 or 6 qualification, and 16% had a Level 7 qualification.

 

Salary Survey Findings 2012

Rates of pay and qualifications:

Average-hourly-wageLAverage-hourly-wage-tableL

  • A FETAC qualification increases the hourly wage for every job in the EYE sector, most noticeably for the preschool leaders and managerial /supervisory roles. This reflects the ECCE policy where preschool leaders must have a minimum qualification of FETAC 5.
  • A level 7 qualification increased the hourly pay rates for Montessori teachers and Managerial staff
  • For all unqualified workers (with the exception of those in management positions), the hourly rate starts at minimum wage (€8.65). For FETAC qualified staff the lower range of pay starts at around €9 per hour up to €14 for preschool leaders for example. The range of   pay for employees with a Level 7 qualification is between €9 and €16 for most positions.
  • The overall average for non-qualified staff (aside from managers and supervisors in each category) is €10.10, for FETAC 5 & 6 staff it is €10.85 and for Level 7 staff €11.24. Including managerial staff the overall averages are: for non-qualified staff – €10.58, FETAC 5 & 6 staff – €11.46 and Level 7 staff €12.03.
  • The raw data also showed that there are a small number of people in both the unqualified and the FETAC 5/6 category being paid under minimum wage.
  • Although 81% of survey respondents said they don’t anticipate cutting salaries or wages in the coming year, the majority of comments said that if the ECCE capitation rate is cut or if the numbers of children decrease in their service, then they may have to cut staff hours or cut wages. Many stated that they had already cut staff hours due to their economic situation or couldn’t afford to pay themselves:  – ‘Can barely afford to pay myself as an owner manager/ or don’t pay myself /nothing left to pay myself’
    ‘To maintain quality we hope never to reduce our rates of pay which we feel are low for the service provided.’

 

Comments from the survey

The majority of employers stated that they would like to pay their staff more but couldn’t because of financial reasons, with a number of them stating that this is due to the ECCE schemes rates being too low:

‘We would love to pay our valuable staff more but can’t afford it, we are barely hanging in there/ I know my staff are underpaid, they are certainly worth more but the money simply isn’t there.’

‘Pay is 80% of my budget and the cut in the ECCE grant for me means that my business is barely staying afloat.’

‘Parents want to pay less, but staff want pay rises’

 

A number of survey respondents feel that the rates of pay don’t reflect the importance of the important job they do:

‘Rates of pay don’t reflect the importance of the important job we do- Childcare sector undervalued and underpaid.’

‘Childcare workers do not get enough money for the amount of training they put in’

 

The ECCE scheme has made it difficult for some providers to offer full time employment for staff due to the 38 week time frame:

‘Have had to cut staff hours and / or only pay 38 /40 weeks of the year- the ECCE scheme makes it very difficult to offer full time employment’

 

Key Issues  emerging from the survey:

  • Despite an increase in the level of qualifications of early year’s practitioners in Ireland, the pay is low, when compared with the national average.
  • Higher qualifications (above FETAC Level) are not reflected in the pay of employment positions, apart from Montessori teachers and managerial posts. Pay rates are not commensurate with higher qualification levels.
  • The ECCE scheme is encouraging services to open for only 38 weeks of the year with part time employees
  • The dichotomy for employers in the early year’s sector is that ‘parents want to pay less, but staff want pay rises’, as indicated by survey comments.
  • Similarly, employers from the survey remarked on how the wages reflect the low value of the childcare sector. Views on the wages of employees in the EYE sector were unanimous – child care and education is poorly paid and it is a labour of love.

HSE Inspection Survey Summary 2012

Introduction

The HSE is responsible for inspecting pre-schools, play groups, nursery’s, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years, under the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006 (www.hse.ie).

 

The HSE Pre-School Inspectors assess the compliance of a service in regard to these Child Care Regulations during an inspection visit, which is followed up by an inspection report.

Early Childhood Ireland wanted to gain an understanding of our members’ experience of their HSE  inspection, in order to best represent their views and improve the inspection process.

 

Method

The HSE  survey was published on the Early Childhood Ireland Website and also on Early Childhood Ireland’s Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition to this it was emailed to all Early Childhood Members.

Both members and non-members were invited to participate in the survey.

The questions in the survey were based on different aspects of the inspection process and the survey was carried out from 21/05/2012 to 20/06/2012.

 

Results

The survey was completed by 243 Early Childhood Ireland members and 17 non members, online (with the exception of 2 by post).

Of the 260 respondents 75% were private childcare and education providers with the remaining 25% coming from community childcare and education settings.

Over half of survey respondents operated sessional childcare settings (52 %), while 33% of respondents operated full time childcare settings. The remaining 15% came from various other settings and are represented in the graph below.

Stats-on-respondents

12, 704 children in total attend these settings with an average of 50 children per setting.

The survey respondents were spread fairly equally among the four HSE areas with 28% of survey respondents coming  from HSE South and 22% from the remaining 3 HSE areas respectively.

Almost 90%t of respondents have had an inspection within the last 2 ½ years and only 5% of them were informed of their inspection in advance.

The most common length of inspection time was between 1 ½  and 3 hours (39.5%). The remainder of the inspection duration times ranged from 30 minutes to 3 days.

When asked to describe the style of the inspection, forty per cent of respondents found it nerve wracking and 37% described it as thorough. Thirty nine per cent responded that they found the inspection style to be supportive and positive, while 27% remarked that it was encouraging and helpful. Only 12% of the 260 survey respondents reported that the style of the inspection was negative.

Graph-for-HSE-Summary-Style

67% per cent of the survey respondents found the inspection report to be helpful. The most prevalent comment about the report was that childcare and education providers would like to see some positive feedback on them, not just tick boxes and negative comments.

The most common other inspection in the last 12 months was from POBAL, with 75% of the sample reporting a visit from POBAL, followed by Fire Safety (14%) and  Food Hygiene (12%). 6% of the childcare providers sampled had an inspection from the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA)  in the last 12 months, and 4% had had a Health and Safety inspection. Planning inspections were had by 3% of the survey respondents.

Pie-for-other-inspections

50% of the respondents who had other inspections said the advice given from the officials was in line with the 2006 Childcare Regulations, but 24% said that they were given conflicting advice from these officials. They commented that the advice they were given was around ECCE compliance, fire safety and planning issues for example.

The majority of survey respondents had received their report in less than a month (72%). 5% were still waiting for their report and the longest a respondent had waited was 6 months (2%).

When asked how the inspection process could be improved, a large number of survey respondents’ replied that they would like to have been given an indication of when the inspection was taking place so that they could arrange for staff cover, and in some cases paperwork.

A reoccurring theme throughout the survey responses was that childcare providers would like to receive more positive feedback and would like to see this reflected in the inspection report.

“We all know from our pedagogical studies that we look for the positives to applaud and then suggestions/solutions to areas that need work”.

Where participants were given positive feedback from the inspectors, they really appreciated it and appeared to have positive view of the inspection experience. Some also commented that they would prefer if the inspection was more supportive and helpful rather than negative and box ticking. These participants suggested that the inspection report should be graded rather than just tick boxes around compliance/non-compliance.

Others stated that the inspection should be focused more on interactions and quality of care and commitment from the staff, or on Siolta and Aistear, and less on nit-picking health and safety requirements.

In contrast to these comments around the negative experiences of the inspection, a number of participants stated that their last inspection had been a big improvement on the previous one, and that the inspectors had been much more friendly and helpful.

Participants, who had services under different HSE areas, complained that there were inconsistencies between the different health service executive areas.

Qualifications of the HSE inspectors was also an issue raised by survey respondents who mentioned that they had to continue with their training and professional development even though their inspector didn’t have an early childcare and education background.

 

Conclusion:

The key findings of the survey indicate :

  • That although the inspection process is a nerve wracking experience it is also seen as necessary, and around 39% of respondents  found the style of  inspection to be supportive and positive.
  • Childcare providers would appreciate an indication of when the inspection was taking place so that they could arrange for staff cover in order to comply with  adult: child ratios, and lessen the disruption to the running of their service on the day.
  • 67 % of respondents find the inspection report helpful, but the majority of comments indicate they would prefer if there was scope for more positive feedback and explanation both verbally and in the report.
  • Where support and constructive advice and feedback were given during the inspection, it was appreciated and definitely led to a more positive view of the experience, helping to allay the ‘air of negativity and criticism.’ Where the inspectors were noted as ‘considerate and conscientious’ the process was seen as being much more beneficial and a positive experience for all involved.
  • The inconsistencies between different HSE areas and different Inspection departments regarding the Child care regulations was raised, and also the qualifications and ECCE experience of the HSE Inspectors were questioned.
  • Some felt that the inspection process needed to focus more on interactions and the quality of the service with regard to the children’s care and education, and less on health and safety components. Some participants who had spent  a lot of time engaging with Siolta and Aistear  felt that this was not recognised.

 

Funding

Non applicable

 

Research Partners

There were no external research partners involved in this project

 

Links to other publications

There are no other publications linked to this project

 

Conference presentations

There are no conference presentation linked to this project

Quality through Professionalisation: The Tallaght National Early Years Access Initiative

Project Overview

The Tallaght NEYAI entitled ‘Quality through Professionalisation’ is one of 11 projects supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Mount Street Club Trustees, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Education and Skills (Early Years Policy Unit), and Pobal who manage the initiative. The Quality through Professionalisation programme sought to address the acute need to upskill and professionalise the early childhood care and education workforce. Five community based preschools were involved in the programme, all of which were located in the Tallaght area. The cornerstone of the project was to develop a comprehensive, accredited, professional education and training programme which would focus on the implementation of the Fledglings Manual. This manual focused on implementing Aistear and Siolta in HighScope settings.

 

Research aims and objectives

The evaluation approach focused on the following aims and objectives:

  1. Conducting a profile analysis of the preschools involved in the programme
  2. Conducting an investigation of the impact of the Tallaght NEYAI on the early year’s educators
  3. Assessing the quality of provision within 4 of the participating services post-training delivery
  4. Conducting a process evaluation investigating the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance of the training programme

 

Research methods and approaches

Observation of training, observation of practice (using the Preschool Quality Assessment), interviews, focus groups and questionnaires

 

Funding

An Cosan commissioned the evaluation. The programme was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Mount Street Club Trustees, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Education and Skills (Early Years Policy Unit).

 

Research Partners

Maynooth University

 

Links to project report

The project report can be accessed here.

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no other publications for this project.

 

Conference presentations

O’Dwyer, M. and McCormack, M. Quality through Professionalisation: The Launch of the Tallaght NEYAI Report, Dublin, Dec 2014. Available to download here.

McCormack, M., O’Dwyer, M.V. and McMahon, M. Quality through Professionalisation. 24th European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA), Crete, Greece. Sept 2014. Available to download here.

McMahon, M., Jones, S. and O’Dwyer, M.V. Quality through Professionalisation. The National Early Years Access Initiative Conference, Dublin, Ireland. May 2014. Available to download here.

 

ECCE Scheme Survey 2014

Project Overview

On behalf of our members, Early Childhood Ireland were eager to ascertain the financial implications of the ECCE Scheme on services across the country, since its introduction 4 and a half years ago.

 

Research aims and objectives

To assess the financial implications it has had on your service and consequently on the sector as a whole by investigating:

  1. Weekly charges pre and post ECCE Scheme
  2. Number of places on offer pre and post ECCE Scheme
  3. The impact of the ECCE Scheme on operations
  4. The impact of the ECCE Scheme on staff

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey targeting early years services across Ireland

 

Funding

Non-applicable

 

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this project

 

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project

 

Conference presentations

There are currently no conference presentations available for this project

 

Water Charges Survey 2014

Project Overview

On behalf of our members and in light of the standardised water system in the future, Early Childhood Ireland were eager to ascertain how water rates affects the sustainability of early year’s services in Ireland.

 

Research aims and objectives

The research aimed to obtain an accurate picture of how the current water rates in each county affected early year’s services by investigating:

  1. How services are currently charged for water
  2. The usage of water in services
  3. The number of children attending each service
  4. The perceived impact of water changes on service sustainability
  5. Water conservation within services

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey targeting early years services across Ireland

 

Funding

Non-applicable

 

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this project

 

Links to project report

There is currently no project report for this survey

 

Links to other publications

You can access information regarding this survey in our Pre-Budget Briefing Document 2013.

 

Conference presentations

There are currently no conference presentations available for this project

 

The Use of Technology in Early Years Settings in Ireland 2014

Project Overview

Data from the Growing Up in Ireland study reports that 15% of Irish three year olds have a television or computer in their bedroom. With 65% of Irish homes having two or more televisions and over 77% having a computer, young children are born into a culture of technology. Today, a child’s exposure to the internet no longer happens solely through a computer screen – children now have access to the internet through a proliferation of devices that are wholly portable and mobile.  As a result, use of the internet and digital technology has become a part of a child’s everyday life and this is happening from an increasingly early age. However, in contrast to the home environment, the current landscape of technology in early childhood care and education settings for young children in Ireland is largely unexplored.

 

Research aims and objectives

This small-scale research project aimed to investigate the role or place of technology in preschool and the relationship between technology and learning and the integration of digital literacy across the curriculum.

 

Research methods and approaches

This mixed methods study was located within a framework of narrative inquiry and used questionnaires, interviews and focus groups to explore the perspectives of practitioners, parents and children on the role and impact of technology in the early years.

 

Funding

Non-applicable

 

Research Partners

There are no partners involved in this research project

 

Links to project report

There are no partners involved in this research project

 

Links to other publications

There are currently no publications relating to this research project

 

Conference presentations

McCormack, M and O’Dwyer, M.V. (2014) Positioning Technology in Early Childhood, Cork, July 2014. Available to download here

 

Addressing the Gaps between Training and Practice: The South Dublin National Early Years Access Initiative 2011-2014

Project Overview

The South Dublin NEYAI entitled ‘Addressing the Gaps between Training and Practice’ was one of 11 projects supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Mount Street Club Trustees, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Education and Skills (Early Years Policy Unit), and Pobal who managed the initiative. The South Dublin NEYAI targeted six key components, all of which related to improving the quality of practice in the participating preschools. The six components of the project were project networks, mentoring, parent and child consultation, professional development, work placement and corporate governance. It is important to note that the mentoring component of the intervention was the cornerstone of the South Dublin NEYAI. All of these components received different weighting in terms of the allocation of resources. Additionally, not all of these components were evaluated to the same level.

 

Research aims and objectives

The evaluation approach focused on the following aims and objectives:

  1. Conducting a profile analysis of the preschools involved in the programme
  2. Conducting an investigation of the effectiveness of the South Dublin NEYAI on managers, early year’s educators and on the quality of preschool provision within 8 preschools
  3. Conducting a process evaluation investigating the utilisation, fidelity and organisation of the interventions
  4. Investigating corporate governance structures within the boards of management

 

 Research methods and approaches

Observation of practice (using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale and the Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale), interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires.

 

Funding

South Dublin County partnership commissioned the evaluation. The programme was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Mount Street Club Trustees, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Education and Skills (Early Years Policy Unit).

 

Research Partners

Maynooth University

 

Links to project report

The project report can be accessed through www.southdublinneyai.ie

 

Links to other publications

‘Mentoring for quality Practice in Early Childhood Education and Care – An Implementation Guide’ can be accesed through www.southdublinneyai.ie/project-resources/

 

Conference presentations

McCormack, M., O’Dwyer, M.V, Kavanagh, L., Goodman, D., Monaghan, C. & Bocklesby, S. The Effectiveness of a Quality Mentoring on Quality within Irish Preschools. Programme 24th European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA), Crete, Greece. Sept 2014.

O’Dwyer, M.V & McCormack, M. The Effectiveness of a Quality Mentoring on Quality within Irish Preschools. Addressing the Gaps between Training and Practice Evaluation of the South Dublin NEYAI, Dublin. June 2014. Accessed here.

Brocklesby, S., Monaghan, C., Kavanagh, L., Goodman, D., McCormack, M. & O’Dwyer, M.V. Addressing the Gaps between Training and Practice. The National Early Years Access Initiative Conference, Dublin, Ireland. May 2014.

O’Dwyer, M.V., McCormack, M., Kavanagh, L., Goodman, D., Monaghan, C., & Bocklesby, S. Conceptualising the role of a quality mentor within Irish preschools. A  Gathering for Early Childhood, Dublin (2013). Accessed here.

O’Dwyer, M.V., McCormack, M., Kavanagh, L., Goodman, D., Monaghan, C. & Bocklesby, S. Short-term effects of a quality improvement intervention within preschools. A  Gathering for Early Childhood, Dublin (2013). Accessed here.

McCormack, M. and O’Dwyer, M. V., Kavanagh, L., Goodman, D., Monaghan, C. & Bocklesby, S. The short-term effects of a quality improvement intervention on practice within Irish Early Years settings – what works? 23rd EECERA Conference, Estonia. Sept 2013.[MO4]  Accessed here.

O’Dwyer, M.V. and McCormack, M. (2013) The National Early Years Access Initiative: update on monitoring and evaluation, Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative, Dublin, Ireland. Accessed here.

 

Inspection Reports Online Survey 2013

Project Overview

Following the Primetime Breach of Trust programme, a commitment was made by the HSE Child & Family Services and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs to publish preschool inspection reports online. Early Childhood Ireland are keen to ensure that this happens in an effective, transparent and fair manner. We conducted an online survey to assess the issues involved for our members.

 

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research was to describe the implications of publishing preschool inspection reports online for early childhood care and education settings across Ireland.

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey was distributed to the members of Early Childhood Ireland, 1,078 early childhood care and education services replied to this survey. Each county was represented within the study.

 

Funding

Non applicable

 

Research Partners

There were no external research partners involved in this project

 

Links to project report

The report from this project can be accessed here.

 

Links to other publications

There are no other publications linked to this project

 

Conference presentations

There are no conference presentation linked to this project

 

Community Childcare Subvention Survey 2013

Project Overview

The Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Scheme is a scheme for community based childcare services to provide quality childcare at reduced rates to disadvantaged parents.

The changes to the scheme that came into effect from September 2012 have impacted in a loss of revenue and further challenges for some community services. Early Childhood Ireland conducted a survey to further investigate the changes to the scheme on early childhood care and education.

 

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research was to describe the implications of the changes made to the CCS Scheme in September 2012.

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey was distributed to the members of Early Childhood Ireland, 101 early childhood care and education services replied to this survey. Each county apart from Offaly and Meath were represented within the study.

 

Funding

Non applicable

 

Research Partners

There were no external research partners involved in this project

 

Links to project report

The report from this project can be accessed here.

 

Links to other publications

Please click on the following link to access a statement on the Impact of Changes since the introduction of the changes to the CCS scheme. Community Childcare Subvention Impact of Changes.

 

Conference presentations

There are no conference presentations linked to this project

 

Children with Additional Needs Survey 2013

Project Overview

Despite the need for quality early childhood care and education services, and recognising the possibilities they offer for engagement with families and early intervention, the sector is experiencing significant challenges when it comes to providing support for children with additional needs. In order to understand the issues and challenges facing the sector, we assessed the current situation among early childhood providers in terms of providing a quality service to children with additional needs and their families.

 

Research aims and objectives

The aim of this research was to better understand the current situation in terms of the provision of early childhood care and education to children with additional needs.

 

Research methods and approaches

An online survey was distributed to the members of Early Childhood Ireland, which included 396 services, employing 2,433 staff caring for 15,778 children.

 

Funding

Non applicable

 

Research Partners

There were no external research partners involved in this project

 

Links to project report

The report from this project can be accessed here.

 

Links to other publications

Early Childhood Ireland published an article in the Barnardos Magazine ‘ChildLinks’ in 2013. This article describes working alongside children with additional needs from a practice perspective. The article can be accessed here.

 

Conference presentations

There are no conference presentations linked to this project.

 

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