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Early Years Quality

Early Years Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF)      

TUSLA Early Years Inspectorate, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), launched the Early Years Quality and Regulatory Framework (QRF). This QRF was developed by the Early Years inspectorate to support registered early years services to comply with the 2016 Regulations. The QRF does this by setting out the core regulatory requirements in a transparent way, utilising evidence based, national and international research and best practice.

The QRF aims to support registered providers in achieving compliance with the regulations and enhance the safety and care of children who attend these services. The QRF is child-centred, with a specific focus on the quality and safety of the care provided directly to children using the services.

There is a QRF for all relevant types of services as follows:

Full Day Care Service and Part- Time Day Care Service

Sessional Pre-School Service

Seirbhís Réamhscoile Sheisiúnach


Pre-school service is a drop in centre

Over-night Preschool service (for stand-alone overnight service)

Over-night Preschool service (Additional Regulatory Requirements for a child-minding service or a full day care service also providing an over-night Preschool service)

Supporting documentation including a guidebook, policy samples and templates were developed by Barnardo’s in collaboration with TUSLA to support early years providers to develop individual services policies, procedures and statements to meet the requirements of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016

All of the above can be accessed at the following link https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/early-years-quality-and-regulatory-framework/


TUSLA Early Years Services Focused Inspections             

TUSLA, the Child and Family agency is responsible for the registration and inspection of Early Years services by the Early Years Inspectorate. These inspections are carried out to measure compliance with the regulations. In the event of non-compliance of one or more aspects of the inspection the early years’ service is obliged to complete and submit a Corrective and Preventative Actions form (CAPA)

Information on the inspection process with relevant forms including Regulatory inspection tool, regulatory inspection reports, factual accuracy forms and Corrective Action, Preventative Actions forms can be accessed at the following link https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/focused-inspection-tool-and-outcome-reports/


Publication of TUSLA Early Years Inspection reports:

TUSLA, the Child and Family agency publishes Inspections Reports on Early year’s services on an ongoing basis. Access to these reports can be found on the following link:  https://www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/creche-inspection-reports/


Department of Education and Skills Early Years Education Inspections        

Early-Years Education-focused Inspections (EYEIs) are carried out in early-years services participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme – a programme which provides a period of free early childhood care and education for children before they start school.

During these inspections, the EYEI inspectors evaluate the quality of the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE Programme. The main activity of an EYEI inspection is the observation, by the inspector, of the processes and practices relating to children’s learning in one or more learning rooms or areas in the early-years setting.

At the end of each inspection the early-years practitioners and the owners/managers (where available) are provided with feedback on the quality of educational provision in the setting. Subsequently a written report will be sent to the pre-school inspected outlining the inspection findings and providing advice as to how educational provision in the setting can be developed further or improved.


Publication of DES EYEI reports:

Similar to TUSLA Early year’s inspection reports, EYEI inspection reports are now published. They can be accessed on the Department of Education and Skills website here https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Inspection-Reports-Publications/Early-Years-Education-Reports/

Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. https://aim.gov.ie/universal-design-guidelines-for-elc-settings/