New Afterschool Regulations & Guidelines


National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare Services

Launched by Minister O’Gorman on 24th Sept 2020

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D.,  launched National Quality Guidelines for School-Age Childcare Services.

 The National Quality Guidelines describe the features of good quality practice in childcare services for school-age children, including both after-school and holiday childcare services. The National Quality Guidelines will be an important resource for the diverse range of services that provide school-age childcare in Ireland today.

 This publication is the output of a Working Group set up by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in line with the first action identified in the Action Plan for School Age Childcare (2017). The Working Group brought together stakeholders and experts in school-age childcare, who worked intensively over an extended period to develop the Guidelines.

 These National Quality Guidelines will assist, guide and inspire school-age childcare services to reach beyond the minimum standards set out in regulations. The Guidelines give central importance to children’s rights, child protection and welfare, equality and diversity, and environmentalism.

 Speaking at today’s webinar launch, Minister O’Gorman said:

  “I warmly welcome the publication of the National Quality Guidelines. These Guidelines will support school-age childcare providers and practitioners to give the best possible care for children.

 “We all want to see childcare places that children will look forward to attending, and the guidelines published today will help achieve that. I would like to thank the Working Group for the effort and care they gave to produce this important resource.”

 Consultation played a key part in the development of these guidelines. It included a consultation with children in 2016, a consultation with parents and providers in 2019, and a testing of the final draft Guidelines with a number of providers in 2020.

 Minister O’Gorman also today published a report on the public consultation that took place to inform the development of comprehensive regulations and quality standards for school-age childcare. The process included an opportunity for public input into an earlier draft of the quality guidelines.

 Minister O’Gorman added: “The publication of the National Quality Guidelines recognises the importance of school-age childcare in the lives of children and families. The consultation process we carried out is part of our commitment to listen to those involved in school-age childcare and ensure that their voice informs new policy”.


Download the Guidelines in the link below:

  National Quality Guidelines for School Aged Childcare Services 2020

Plans for the roll-out, and training in the use, of the National Quality Guidelines will be announced over the coming months.




Parents Notice – School Age Childcare

Childcare services for school-age children must now register with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. School-age childcare services have not, to date, been subject to registration, so this is a significant step forward in ensuring quality school-age childcare.

Services must register their service if their primary purpose is to care for children where their parents are unavailable.

New services must apply for registration at least 3 months before opening.

School-Age Childcare services that are registered will also be eligible to apply to participate in the forthcoming National Childcare Scheme.

What is the National Childcare Scheme?

The National Childcare Scheme is a pathway to truly accessible, affordable, quality childcare. From October 2019 it will replace all previous targeted childcare programmes with a single, streamlined and user-friendly Scheme to help parents meet the cost of quality childcare.

Supports are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years who are attending any participating Tusla registered childcare service, including any Tusla registered childminder.

For further information relating to the National Childcare Scheme please visit