Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Research on pre-schools inspections published by Tusla – Child and Family Agency

Research on pre-schools inspections published today (16/10/14) by the inspectorate, Tusla – Child and Family Agency, shows that the level of compliance with pre-school regulations is high, with most providers in compliance with most regulations.  Nonetheless, there are areas where service providers can make improvements.  A complementary report on the process of inspections found that Tusla inspections are comprehensive, wide-ranging and forensic.

Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance, says: “Those operating Early Years Services are, in effect, offering a service to parents.  Like all good businesses they must have systems in place to ensure that they are providing a good quality service especially as these relate to the wellbeing of children.  It should be part of their everyday work to check that children in their care are receiving proper care, that staff are appropriately qualified and vetted, that food is nutritious and that premises are safe and secure.

“Tusla will make sure that those offering Early Years services live up to those standards through inspections; by giving parents the information they need to be vigilant about their children’s care; and by investigating complaints.

“If we find any shortcomings in how a business is run, we will require it to take remedial action within a set period of time.  Where necessary, we will impose sanctions for serious failures.”

 The reports were commissioned by Chief Executive, Gordon Jeyes, to give an understanding of how well the industry has been running and what improvements need to be made.   The research was based on 3,007 inspection reports carried out over a 17 month period, from January 2012 to May 2013.   A deeper analysis was conducted on a random sample of 500 reports.

The research on quality in pre-school services indicates that compliance with the regulations is at 74%.   The research found that the more straightforward regulations have higher levels of, while instances of non-compliance tend to relate to the more complex regulations. Compliance with regulation on Management and Staffing, which includes staff:child ratio, vetting and designated person in charge, presents the greatest challenge to businesses

The second report on the process of inspections finds that the reports offer a rich learning resource on best practice for both inspectors and service providers.  However, it highlights inconsistency in report-writing.

Tusla has already adopted the recommendations in the report in the development of the new registration system and in standardising and improving process of inspection.

Tusla took control of the Early Years Inspectorate in January of this year.  Early Years Services is an overarching term that incorporates pre-schools, play groups, nurseries, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years. Tusla is reorganising the Early Years Inspectorate on a national rather than a local or regional basis in order to ensure that resources are utilised to maximum effect and that a consistent service is provided.


Report on the Quality of Pre-School Services - Analysis of Pre-school inspeciton reports Report on the Process of Pre-school Inspeciton Practices as documented in inspection reports

Full Report

Executive Summary

Executive Summary (Irish)

Full Report 

Executive Summary

Executive Summary (Irish)

Further information:

Sharon Waters                      087 6348373 / sharon.waters@tusla.ie

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