Research on development of a new funding model for childcare in Ireland

Research on development of a new funding model for childcare in Ireland

Frontier Economics is providing research support to an international Expert Group convened by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY),  to develop a new Funding Model for Early Learning and Childcare and School Age Childcare in Ireland.

Last week, they published the first suite of the research papers drawing lessons from international comparisons on the effectiveness of different models of public spending across the world.

Frontier’s team led by Dr Gillian Paull and Cavin Wilson , have focused on a range of issues in this first batch of papers including:

  • International comparison of fees, staff wages and public investment in early learning and care;
  • Review of working conditions for staff in early learning and care;
  • International approaches to funding early learning and care and school-age childcare to reduce costs for parents;
  • Mechanisms to control fees charged to parents for early learning and care and school-age childcare;
  • Approaches to identifying children or settings in need of additional support.

Some of our key findings include:

  • Parents in Ireland pay some of the highest gross and net costs for ELC relative to the average national wage across a broad range of European and OECD countries.
  • Mean hourly pay for childcare workers in Ireland is low by international standards.
  • Most countries use a range of approaches to reduce costs for parents including free places, subsidies paid to providers and tax credits and deductions for childcare expenses.
  • Fee control mechanisms are generally only applied provision that is publicly funded, either in the form of subsidies or public provision and are often related to levels of household income.
  • Countries use a range of family and child characteristics to identify which children should receive additional support covering economic disadvantage, family composition, children with special educational needs and disabilities, children form ethnic or regional minorities and children in extreme need.

Frontier are currently preparing the next suite of research papers focusing on mechanisms to target support to disadvantaged children, policies to enhance the quality of provision and collaborative models of delivery.

Frontier regularly works with public and private sector clients on issues related to childcare and education. For more information, please contact or call +44 (0) 20 7031 7000.