New ECCE Overage Exemption Q&A Document

Please see the following information on Overage Exemptions from DCYA

Q: What is an Overage Exemption

A: An overage exemption to the ECCE upper age limit is available to children with special/additional needs. All applications must be supported by a letter Children with significant additional needs can apply to circumvent this rule with a letter of recommendation from their specialist. Where a child has utilised their full-two year allocation there is no facility to extend the ECCE allocation.

Please note this facility is an exemption to rule “2.2.1 Age of eligible child”
“A child must have turned 2 years and 8 months on or before 31st August 2018, and not be older than 5 years and 6 months by the end of June of the programme year to be eligible”

Q: Can a parent apply to spread two ECCE years over 3?
A: Yes, as of 2018 all children are eligible for two years of ECCE. Children with significant additional needs can apply to spread their two years over three programme years, with a recommendation from their specialist.
ECCE is a two year education programme available to all children. It is strongly advised that children progress to primary school with the peers, and indeed become teenagers etc with their peers. However, there is a facility for children with significant additional needs to split this two year allocation over three years. This facility is intended for children who may not be well enough to attend on a 5 days per week basis.
This breakdown would be as follows. The child attends their ECCE placement on a 2 days per week basis for 38 weeks for their first programme year, and 3 days per week for their second programme year, they will have utilised 50% of their ECCE allocation by end programme year 2. In these cases an overage exemption will allow for the child to register for a third programme year, on a 5 days per week basis for 38 weeks. An exemption would have to be approved by this department prior to any parent embarking on this plan, as each application must be assessed on its merits. We do not guarantee approval for all applications.

Q: Can a parent apply to defer commencing ECCE to the next year.
A: Yes, as of 2018 all children are eligible for two years of ECCE. Children with significant additional needs can apply to defer their enrolment date by one programme year.
Each child is allocated two programme years of an ECCE placement, an overage exemption can be provided to allow a child with additional needs to begin the programme a year later. However, the Educational Welfare Act 2000, dictates that all children aged 6yrs and over should be in primary school or otherwise receive a certain minimum education. We cannot provide an exemption to this legislation.

Q: How can a parent or service apply
Applications to Defer entry or to Spread 2 years over 3 programme years can be made to
EYqueries@dcya.gov.ie

Current policy requires that any request for an exemption from ECCE eligibility must be supported by a letter from a medical specialist/ Social Worker (not a GP/PHN) specifically recommending an exemption for the child.
This requirement is not intended to undermine the view of a parent or teacher in relations to a child’s needs but, rather, to maintain a clear and standard basis for applying exemptions.

Examples of the type of specialist/medical recommendation accepted are as follows:
Speech & Language Therapist; Occupational Therapist; Senior Psychologist; Physiotherapist; Paediatrician/developmental; Neurologist; Psychiatrist; Psychotherapist; Cardiologist; Oncologist; Opthalmologist; Otolaryngologist (ENT specialist); Gastroenterologist, Social Worker / Early Intervention Team.

This is not an exhaustive list however it provides an example of what is accepted