Early Years Sector Profile 2020/21 Now Available

Minister launches Early Years Sector Profile for 2020/21 

the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/21. As evidenced in this Report, 2021 marked another difficult year for the sector owing to Covid-19. I would like to pay tribute to providers and their staff for their display of leadership, resilience and child and family-centredness throughout the pandemic”

“Notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, 2021 marked many positive developments across the sector. As a result of the significant Covid-19 supports from the State, services could continue to operate sustainably and retain their staff, even during the suspension of the ECCE programme in 2021 and periods of restricted access to services. Remarkably, the number of services that closed in 2021 was lower than in previous years and the number of staff in the sector held steady. Importantly, the additional costs of operating during Covid-19 were not passed on to parents through increased fees, meeting an important and shared objective of the State and of providers.

“December 2021 also marked the publication of two seminal reports for the sector – Partnership for the Public Good, A New Funding Model and Nurturing Skills, A Workforce Plan. Moreover, Budget 2022 secured an additional €78m to commence immediate implementation.

“The State’s successful approach to supporting the sector throughout the pandemic, and the development of Partnership for the Public Good and Nurturing Skills, were all underpinned by high quality data and research that included findings from the Annual Early Years Sector Profile. High quality research and data such as this are essential to the ongoing reform of the early learning and care system. I therefore offer my thanks to all who took the time to participate.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the City and County Childcare Committees and Voluntary Childcare Organisations for their continued support in promoting Annual Early Years Sector Profile and to Pobal who managed data collection, analysis and reporting of results”.

The Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/21 is based on information collected between 28 May and 18 June 2021 during an unusual programme year when the COVID-19 pandemic continued to present challenges. While there was no prolonged closure of services during this period, as had been the case in the spring and summer of 2020, services were open only to children of essential workers and those from vulnerable families in Quarter 1 of 2021.

Despite these difficult circumstances, 2,520 providers completed the survey, showing their commitment to providing evidence and information that will contribute to Government policy-making for the sector.

Anna Shakespeare, Pobal’s CEO added:

“Pobal has been at the forefront of collecting and analysing this important information about the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector in Ireland through the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report for 19 years and I very much welcome the publication of the 2020/2021 report knowing that the information and analysis included has become even more important this year in helping the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to plan for the delivery of accessible and high-quality Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare to all children in Ireland.

“Additionally, the data from the 2020/21 report has played a pivotal role in assisting the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in their continued response to the global pandemic to ensure that adequate measures were in place to support the sector during what has been an exceptionally challenging time for the services who participated in the survey.

“Pobal is very proud to have the opportunity to work with DCEDIY on this important piece of research and analysis of the Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare sector.”

The Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2020/2021 is available to download and read in full below.

Early Years Sector Profile 2020/2021



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