Tag Archives: children

Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) in Ireland (Pre-School Education)

In Ireland, children of pre-school age (3yrs 2mths to 4yrs 7mths) can benefit from the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) in Ireland.

View more information on the above link. A quick overview:


The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free year of early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. In general, children are eligible for the ECCE scheme if they are aged over 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months on 1 September of the year that they will be starting. The upper age limit can be extended in some cases – see ‘Rules’ below.

The State pays a capitation fee to participating playschools and daycare services. In return, they provide a pre-school service free of charge to all children within the qualifying age range for a set number of hours over a set period of weeks (see ‘How the ECCE scheme is provided’ below).

In general, children only qualify for ECCE in one school year. However, a child who has been assessed as having a disability may be able to spread their free pre-school year over 2 years – see ‘Children with special needs’ below.

The Importance of Play for Under 8’s

So, I made a large number of Freedom of Information Requests to some Public Authorities. One of them being the Department for Education, in my request entitled Importance of Play for Under 8s. I have received a sort of response (after some hassles) which I am satisfied with. This response releases the following information:

1: Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage – Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.

2: Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – This non-statutory guidance material supports practitioners in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS.

3: Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years.

In addition the DfE have linked me to the search results for all publications containing ‘Play’ in the title.

So, it is clear, from documents already in circulation, in addition to common sense, that children learn the most important lessons for their life in the first five years of their life. Lessons which involve their Primary Physical and Psychological development. I highly recommend looking at the guidance in (2) above, in addition to other information located at http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/.

Case C-34/09 – Ruiz Zambrano

Outline of the ruling on Zambrano

In the case of Ruiz Zambrano (Case C-34/09 of the European Court of Judgement (ECJ) http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/EUECJ/2011/C3409.html), the court made the following ruling:

Article 20 TFEU is to be interpreted as meaning that it precludes a Member State from refusing a third country national upon whom his minor children, who are European Union citizens, are dependent, a right of residence in the Member State of residence and nationality of those children, and from refusing to grant a work permit to that third country national, in so far as such decisions deprive those children of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights attaching to the status of European Union citizen.

Note that there are numerous articles to be found on Google in relation to this case. I list a few of the webpages here:

But there are many more interesting reads out there…

In addition to the above, The Home Office have a very clear responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under Section 55 – Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. This guidance is laid out well in their Statutory guidance to the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which also refers to The Home Office: Every Child Matters.

Zambrano IDI’s and Article 8 Guidance

I’d like to also raise the following UN Law: UNCRC – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

And the consolidated clearer version in EU law:
Article 24 TFEU: The Rights of the Child.


Article 24. The *rights* of the child
1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. They may express their views freely. Such views shall be taken into consideration on matters which concern them in accordance with their age and maturity.

2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration.

3. Every child shall have the right right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests. (Emphasis added)

Weighing this in line with the very clear Zambrano / Article 8 IDI’s. The Home Office Derivative Right’s guidance notice can be viewed here on my FOI request Derivative right of residence – take note that there are a number of files released on this request.