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Press Release, 18/11/2015: New supports for children with disabilities to attend pre-school welcomed as long-needed step in ensuring no young child is left behind.

Start Strong Press Statement.

New supports for children with disabilities to attend pre-school welcomed as long-needed step in ensuring no young child is left behind.

Dublin 18 November 2015 - Start Strong - a coalition group campaigning to improve government policy on early years in Ireland - welcomes today’s announcement of supports for young children with disabilities, which will allow many to access pre-school services for the first time, and will support all pre-school services to be more inclusive.

DCYA LogoMs Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong, said:
“The new programme of supports announced by the Government finally means that, when it comes to pre-school education, no young child should be left behind. Backed by funding (€17 million in 2016, rising to €40 million by 2020), the new 7-stage model developed by the Inter-Departmental Group focuses on providing supports to service providers, so all children with disabilities should be able to access high -quality free pre-school provision.

Currently 95% of children access free pre-school education. The measures announced today mean that many of those previously left behind should now have the same chance of early years education as their peers”.

With the extension of free-pre-school provision set to be introduced next September, the government now needs to fast track these new supports in the intervening months, so that no family faces barriers in enrolling their child into pre-school.


ENDS
Contact:
Ms Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong, is available for comment.
For more information please contact: Michael McHale, Communications Officer, Start Strong 087 4135641, or Ms Ciairín de Buis 087 1207 103.

Notes to Editor:
• Start Strong is a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland. Our advocacy is built on clear evidence of the benefits this brings for children, for the economy and for society. For more information please visit www.startstrong.ie
• Early care and education means the care and education of children in their early years, from their first months to the compulsory school starting-age of 6 years old.
• Follow us on twitter @StartStrongIrl Like us on Facebook facebook.com/StartStrongIreland

Read the Report of the Inter-Departmental Group, September 2015- "Supporting Access to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme for Children with a Disability".