Regulation of school age childcare services

Information

From 18 February 2019, childcare services providing care to school age children must register with the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and comply with the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services)(Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018 (pdf).

Registration of childcare providers

Childcare providers must notify Tusla that they are providing childcare services. Services providing childcare before 18 February 2019 must register within 3 months or 6 months of this date, depending on whether they are providing childcare for school age children only or providing childcare to both preschool and school age children.

Stand-alone school age services in operation before 18 February 2019 must register by 18 May 2019.

Services operating a registered preschool service and providing a school aged service before 18 February 2019 must register by 18 August 2019.

New childcare services must register with Tusla 3 months before opening the school age service.

Who must register with Tusla and comply with the Regulations?

Childcare providers covered by the Regulations are:

  • Centre-based childcare services
  • Childminding services

Childcare providers exempt from the Regulations include:

  • A relative of the child or the spouse of such a relative (that is, the brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent or step-parent of the child)
  • A childminder caring for not more than 6 children (other than their own) at the same time. Not more than 3 of the children can be of pre-school age
  • Childcare services in drop-in centres. These are centres that provide occasional care to children
  • Temporary school-age childcare services

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has published an explanatory guide to the Regulations (pdf) and Frequently Asked Questions (pdf).

Rules

What do the Regulations cover?

Childcare providers must safeguard the health, safety and welfare of children attending their service. The Regulations (pdf) set down the standards that must be in place before childcare services can be provided to children. Some of the areas covered by the Regulations include:

Management and staffing
Childcare services must ensure that children are appropriately supervised at all times. The DCYA has published a list of recognised qualifications for working in the childcare sector.

All staff, students and volunteers who have access to a child must have vetting disclosure from the National Vetting Bureau, known as Garda vetting. Childminders (other than those exempted from registration – see above) must also have Garda vetting.

All registered childcare services, must have another person available at all time to assist in case of emergency.

Ratios of early years children allowed in centre-based services
Centre-based services must ensure there is a minimum ratio of 1 adult to 12 school age children at all times.

Ratios of early years children allowed in childminding services
There is a limit on the maximum number of children who can attend a childminding service at the same time.

Childminding services caring for both pre-school and school age children, must adhere to strict ratios that apply to children who are in care at the same time.

Number of children that may be cared for in a childminding service
Number of pre-school children being cared for Maximum number of school age children
0 12
1 10
2 7
3 5
4 2
5 1

Behaviour management
There should be written policies and procedures to manage challenging behaviour and bullying.

Premises
Childcare services (including childminders) must ensure their premises meet certain standards. Children must have access to outdoor space on a daily basis, either on the premises or an alternative outdoor space.

Information for parents
Parents should be given information about the service including details of the person in charge and other staff, the adult/child ratios, the age range of the children, the type of care, facilities, opening hours and fees.

Safety measures
Registered providers must have policies on the administration of medication, infection control, fire safety and dropping off and collection of children.

Insurance
Childcare providers must have adequate insurance cover in place for children in their care.

Complaints
Registered services must have a complaints policy for recording and dealing with complaints about the service. Parents must be made aware of the policy.

How to apply

If you need further information about the standards and regulation of childcare services for children in your area, you should contact the early years inspector.

Parents seeking information on local childcare services and other issues relating to the care of young children should contact their local City/County Childcare Committees (CCC).

Where to apply

Contact your local City/County Childcare Committee.

Tusla - Child and Family Agency

Brunel Building
Heuston South Quarter
Dublin 8
Ireland

Tel: (01) 771 8500

Page edited: 29 October 2019