Children’s Rights Alliance The Future of Early Years Webinar

On Thursday, 25 June, the Children’s Rights Alliance held a webinar on the future of the early years sector. The discussion was chaired by Tom Costello, former Chair of the Children’s Rights Alliance and current member of the National Advisory Council for the Children and Youth Strategy. Our panelists included, Louise Bayliss, SPARK Ireland, Frances Byrne, Early Childhood Ireland, Clare Downey, National Parent’s Council, Nóirín Hayes, Trinity College Dublin, Darragh O’Connor, SIPTU and Mathias Urban, Dublin City University

We were joined by over 200 attendees who helped make the conversation and questions and answers all the more engaging. Over the course of the two-hour long event, our panel discussed;

  • What a service that provides quality ECEC to children looks like
  • What the international and national research and evidence tells us
  • In the Irish context what is working well and what would we need to build on
  • What changes Ireland needs to adopt in order to build a best in class early years’ service?
  • What the ideal model might look like? Access, availability, affordability, quality and professionalisation/wages/investment were all discussed
  • What do we need to get there. This included the importance of all stakeholders being heard, working together and identifying a common vision that underpins plans and ensures the rights of the child/children’s needs are to the fore of ECEC developments

The webinar was livestreamed and has reached an audience of over 15,000 online. There is clearly a desire for more discussion and debate as we find ourselves at a crossroads for the early years sector. You can watch the video back on our Facebook here.

The conversation was trending online so there are plenty more questions, comments, thoughts and ideas to explore. You can follow the discussion with #FutureofEarlyYears.

For more information about our early years work or for queries about the webinar, please contact Mary Nicholson, our Social Policy Analyst at