The Programme for Government 2011-15 commits the Executive to publish and implement a childcare strategy with key actions to provide integrated and affordable childcare.

Draft Childcare Strategy

The Executive’s draft Childcare Strategy was launched for public consultation in July 2015. The consultation lasted for 16 weeks, ending on 13 November 2015.

The Executive’s draft Childcare Strategy has two main aims:

  • Child Development: to give all our children the best start in life, preparing them for lifelong wellbeing and achievement, thereby creating the basis for a better, more prosperous future.
  • Parental Employment: to enable parents to join the workforce, thereby enhancing prosperity and to improve gender equality by enabling mothers to join the workforce, return to work and remain in work.

These aims are supported by seven key objectives: availability, affordability, sustainability, diversity, quality, informed parental choice and an integrated approach.

You can access the draft Strategy and associated documents via the links below:

Summary Report of Responses to the Consultation

The draft Strategy was launched for public consultation in July 2015 and concluded in November 2015.  Six public consultation events were organised across Northern Ireland in addition to specific events that were arranged for children and young people, for parents and for stakeholders. In total, over 300 responses were received to the consultation via completed questionnaires and written responses.

The  ‘Summary Report of Responses to the Consultation’ will inform the preparation of the final strategy document and accompanying action plan for Ministerial and Executive approval.

You can view the Summary Report via the link below:

School Age Childcare Grant Scheme

The Bright Start School Age Childcare Grant Scheme was launched on the 27 March 2014 and aims to create or sustain school age childcare provision - breakfast clubs, after school clubs and summer schemes aimed at the 4-14 age group. There have been three calls for applications to the Grant Scheme, which has sustained and created approximately 3000 school age childcare places in areas of disadvantage, on the schools estate and in rural areas.

The Health and Social Care board (HSCB) is the Managing Agent for the Grant Scheme.

Related publication "Bright Start - A Strategic Framework and Key First Actions"

In September 2013, Bright Start - The Executive's Programme for Affordable and Integrated Childcare (A Strategic Framework and Key First Actions) was published and set out the framework, principles and a range of key first actions to help deliver the Executive’s vision for childcare.

You can access the document via the link below:

Related publication "Towards a Childcare Strategy"

In December 2012, the former OFMDFM published 'Towards a Childcare Strategy' for consultation. The consultation closed on 5 March 2013. During the consultation period, the Department received 65 written responses and organised a series of public consultation events.

You can download the consultation document, a summary of the written responses and a summary of the main issues raised at the public consultation events via the links below.

Published Research

Contact us

For further information please contact the Childcare Strategy Team

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