Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., today launched National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare Services.
The National Quality Guidelines describe the features of good quality practice in childcare services for school-age children, including both after-school and holiday childcare services. The National Quality Guidelines will be an important resource for the diverse range of services that provide school-age childcare in Ireland today.
This publication is the output of a Working Group set up by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in line with the first action identified in the Action Plan for School Age Childcare (2017). The Working Group brought together stakeholders and experts in school-age childcare, who worked intensively over an extended period to develop the Guidelines.
These National Quality Guidelines will assist, guide and inspire school-age childcare services to reach beyond the minimum standards set out in regulations. The Guidelines give central importance to children’s rights, child protection and welfare, equality and diversity, and environmentalism.
Speaking at today’s webinar launch, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I warmly welcome the publication of the National Quality Guidelines. These Guidelines will support school-age childcare providers and practitioners to give the best possible care for children.
“We all want to see childcare places that children will look forward to attending, and the guidelines published today will help achieve that. I would like to thank the Working Group for the effort and care they gave to produce this important resource.”
Consultation played a key part in the development of these guidelines. It included a consultation with children in 2016, a consultation with parents and providers in 2019, and a testing of the final draft Guidelines with a number of providers in 2020.
Minister O’Gorman also today published a report on the public consultation that took place to inform the development of comprehensive regulations and quality standards for school-age childcare. The process included an opportunity for public input into an earlier draft of the quality guidelines.
Minister O’Gorman added:
“The publication of the National Quality Guidelines recognises the importance of school-age childcare in the lives of children and families. The consultation process we carried out is part of our commitment to listen to those involved in school-age childcare and ensure that their voice informs new policy”.
The National Quality Guidelines for School Age Childcare Services are available here.
Plans for the roll-out, and training in the use, of the National Quality Guidelines will be announced over the coming months.