Early years is one the Department of Education’s core services, the two largest budgets being the Pre-school Education Programme (£58m) and the Sure Start Programme (£25m). The universal Pre-school Education Programme is a vital but non-compulsory stage of education which provides children with high quality curriculum based education experiences. Over 92% of all families avail of this service each year, and there is a commitment to provide one year of pre-school education to every family who wants it.
The delivery of the "Transition of Children into Education Project" will require DE working with colleagues in DoH, EA, and PHA (and involving engagement with a broad spectrum of statutory and non-statutory stakeholders) to develop a strategic approach to ensuring that all children are at their appropriate stage of development and are prepared, supported and encouraged to learn.
Some of the expected deliverables of the project include:
- More children reaching their expected stage of development and progressing in education and learning in line with their peers
- Fewer children and families reliant on targeted or later interventions as their needs are met earlier in universal provision
- Reduced need for speech and language and other interventions
- Fewer children requiring a statutory or other assessments as a result of early identification of delay and appropriate early interventions leading to more effective use of resources
- Confident parents supporting their child’s early development
- Practice transformation – all relevant professions supporting parents to be their child’s first and ongoing educator
- Improved infant and parent mental health