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Afterschool childcare plan set to help working parents

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 05/03/2015. Afterschool childcare plan set to help working parentsTags: Parenting Education And Politics

Parents who are finding it difficult to pay for after-school childcare are to benefit from new proposals being drafted by the government who plan to open primary schools for longer and provide supervision for students.

A report by Fionnan Sheahan in The Irish Independant yesterday, outlines that these new proposals would see primary schools open for two hours more after school, in an effort to help working parents save money on childcare.

After-school care is already availabe in some schools but not as part of a nationally co-ordinated programme, The national scheme if implemented, would see two hours of ‘homework clubs’ and supervised childcare within student's own primary schools. However, according to Mr Sheehan's report, the scheme has yet to seek the co-operation of school management, principals and teachers.

According to his report,

“The opening of schools for longer is expected to form part of the pay talks with teacher unions which open later this year. The arrangements would need the cooperation of principals, teachers, management and parents groups. The proposals are currently being teased out by an interdepartmental working group looking at childcare costs. The ministers and officials from a variety of departments in the group have discussed the proposals already.”

However, according to an Irish Times article by Joe Humphreys," Department of Education sources dismissed any suggestion that primary school teachers would be involved in running after-school services or that the issue would form part of forthcoming pay talks. Instead the department is looking at ways of facilitating childcare providers operating on a primary school campus where this is local demand"

Responding to the leaked Government approach to the proposals for after-school care, Teresea Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, said the band aid approach to afterschool won't work. She states "The headlines and leaks we read today regarding Government plans to use school buildings as a solution to afterschool childcare is not child centred.  We don’t need a band aid attempt to shift children from one classroom into another, wrapped up as a quick fire way to use what we have, rather than actually looking at what we need, and centering that thinking in the child’s needs. .... What we urgently need is a partnership approach to developing Ireland’s Early Years Strategy but this must be backed up by a commitment to real investment.  "

At the recent Labour conference in Killarney, Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, spoke about how the government party plans to increase child places for after-school care and to include a second year of free preschool.


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