O’Dowd launches Pathway Fund for Early Years Education
Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today launched the new Pathway Fund which will replace the Early Years Fund from 1 April 2016.
The new fund will be open to all providers of registered early years education. It will prioritise support in areas of disadvantage, where there is little or no provision and where services will enhance integration from an early age. The fund will be administered by Early Years – The Organisation for Young Children (EYO).Speaking ahead of the launch the Minister said:
“It is widely recognised that the early years of a child’s life are some of the most important in terms of their development. Intervention during these early years of education can have a significant, positive and lasting impact on raising educational standards and narrowing gaps that prevail in achievement later in life.”
The fund will also promote services that are delivered on a community-based social economy basis and will focus on the delivery of quality early years services and the sustainability of the early years sector.
Continuing the Minister said:
“Evidence shows that the greatest impact and most significant difference can be made for children from areas of disadvantage. During these times of severe budgetary constraints, it is critical that we focus resources in areas where we can ensure the best possible outcomes for our children.”
Concluding, the Minister highlighted his Department’s Learning to Learn Framework and his vision that all children have equal opportunities to achieve their potential. He said:
“High quality early years education and learning positively impact on a child’s educational outcomes. The Pathway fund will make a valuable contribution to achieving this aim. I welcome the appointment of EYO to deliver this fund and wish them well for the future.”