Latest News

We are calling on Education Minister John O'Dowd to rescind the £2 million cut to the vital DE Early Years Fund

Published on: 13/03/2015

We are calling on Education Minister John O'Dowd to rescind the £2 million cut to the vital DE Early Years Fund.

The aim of the DE Early Years Fund is to sustain high quality early years services in areas of greatest need.  This is achieved by providing direct services to children and families and also providing infrastructural and capacity support to service providers.

A key feature of the fund has been its ability to link with and add value to current early years policy initiatives including sustaining places, providing essential linkages with SureStart programmes and playing a crucial role in the delivery of the Pre-School Education Programme.  Without this financial support, services to children and families in areas of greatest need across Northern Ireland would not be delivered.  Cuts to the DE Early Years Fund will mean:

  • A loss of £1.71 million to the voluntary and community early childhood sector
  • A loss of local services in 153 communities in the most disadvantaged parts of Northern Ireland
  • A loss of 177 jobs (mainly women)
  • A loss of 2,500 early childhood places directly benefitting from the fund, including such places for our most vulnerable children as:
  • - Over 620 places for children with special needs
  • - Over 250 places for children who do not have English as their first language
  • A loss of support for an estimated 1,800 single parent families

Concerned about the cuts and the impact on our children, please join us in getting this decision rescinded. Sign the petition today >>

Gold Steps to Excellence Logo