O’Dowd launches Pathway Fund for Early Years Education

Date published: 10 February 2016

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today launched the new Pathway Fund which will replace the Early Years Fund from 1 April 2016.

The new fund will be open to all providers of registered early years education. It will prioritise support in areas of disadvantage, where there is little or no provision and where services will enhance integration from an early age. The fund will be administered by Early Years – The Organisation for Young Children (EYO).

Speaking ahead of the launch the Minister said:

“It is widely recognised that the early years of a child’s life are some of the most important in terms of their development. Intervention during these early years of education can have a significant, positive and lasting impact on raising educational standards and narrowing gaps that prevail in achievement later in life.”

The fund will also promote services that are delivered on a community-based social economy basis and will focus on the delivery of quality early years services and the sustainability of the early years sector.

Continuing the Minister said:

“Evidence shows that the greatest impact and most significant difference can be made for children from areas of disadvantage. During these times of severe budgetary constraints, it is critical that we focus resources in areas where we can ensure the best possible outcomes for our children.”

Concluding, the Minister highlighted his Department’s Learning to Learn Framework and his vision that all children have equal opportunities to achieve their potential. He said:

“High quality early years education and learning positively impact on a child’s educational outcomes. The Pathway fund will make a valuable contribution to achieving this aim. I welcome the appointment of EYO to deliver this fund and wish them well for the future.”

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive of Early Years – the organisation for young children said:

“We are delighted to be awarded the tender to administer the new Pathway Fund. We believe that this much needed fund can play a significant part in improving outcomes for very young children and their families. We commend the Minister of Education, John O Dowd, for his commitment to the Early Years sector.”

For further information on how to apply to the fund visit the Early Years website.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Pathway Fund will replace the Early Years Fund which has been in place since 2004.

2. The new fund will be open to all providers or facilitators of registered early years education and learning services focused on children aged 0-4 years.

3. The Fund will be administered by Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children (EYO) who will provide information and support to potential applicants.

4. The new fund will be open to all providers or facilitators of registered early years education and learning services.

5. The fund will focus on children aged 0-4 years.

6. The fund will prioritise support in areas of disadvantage.

7. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign promotes the value of education. This year’s campaign aims to ensure that parents have information on schooling and that they are aware of the steps they can take to ‘Get Involved’ and support their teenager in achieving good outcomes at school. Watch out for the ads on television, radio and outdoor locations. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect - Education Works for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.

8. See photos from the Department of Education in our flickr collection.

9. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.

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