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PQ - Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Core Funding

On 15th September 2022, I launched Together for Better, the new funding model for early learning and

childcare. This new funding model supports the delivery of early learning and childcare for the public

good, for quality and affordability for children, parents and families as well as stability and sustainability

for providers. Together for Better brings together three major programmes, the Early Childhood Care an Education (ECCE) programme, including the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), the National Childcare

Scheme (NCS) and the new Core Funding scheme.

Core Funding, which began in September 2022, is the new funding stream worth 259 million in full year costs to start this partnership for the public good between the State and provider . Its primary purpose is to improve pay and conditions in the sector as a whole and improve affordability for parents as well as

ensuring a stable income to providers.

Core Funding is distributed in a fair and reasonable manner that is related to services' costs of delivery.

Core Funding is allocated to services based on the number of child places being made available (whether

filled or not), the age group of children for whom the places are available and the number of hours the

places are available for, as well as the graduate qualifications of leaders in the service. These are the

primary drivers of services costs and this is therefore the most proportionate and transparent manner t, allocate funding. It follows that service opening longer hours and operating more weeks in the year will

receive more Core Funding.

The majority of Core Funding is distributed based on a service's capacity -the opening hours, opening

weeks and the age group of children for whom services are provided as well as number of places availa le. This includes allocations for improvements in staff pay and conditions, for administrative staff/time, and a contribution to non-staff overhead costs. It is important to note that both contact and non-contact time, holiday pay, sick pay and other employer costs, are all factored in to the estimated staff costs allocation n Core Funding. Core Funding is designed to support a range of objectives, including supporting the new minimum rates of pay for workers as determined by the Employment Regulation Orders (EROs), as well • s supporting career pathways and graduate employment. There is an allocation to contribute to support

graduates to be Lead Educators across ELC and to support graduates as Manage in ELC or combined ELC

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