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Early Years Strategy in Northern Ireland

UNICEF regards a ‘national plan for the organisation and financing of early childhood services’ as one of ten minimum standards for early care and education. Through Children 2020, we are campaigning for Ireland to meet that standard.

Our Children 2020 consultation process is nearing an end, and it’s been incredibly interesting. We’ve had the opportunity to talk to service-providers, organisations and individuals working in the area, parents, officials, and, of course, children. One of the common themes emerging from the consultation is the need for long-term planning. We need a 10-year plan for early childhood to drive positive change for young children, to build the foundations of a strong economy, and to help us reach international standards.

Interesting, then, that the day after our national consultation meeting on 24th June, the draft Early Years (0-6) Strategy was released for consultation in Northern Ireland (the consultation runs until 30th November). We very much welcome the release of a draft strategy in Northern Ireland - it shows the commitment of the Northern Ireland Executive to child development and to children’s early care and education. Equally, we look forward to being in a position where we can welcome a long-term plan for children’s early care and education in the Republic of Ireland, hopefully in the not-too-distant future...

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