Education-focused Inspections in Early Years Settings

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In Autumn 2015, the Department of Education & Skills began inspections of early-years services participating in the ECCE scheme, to evaluate the quality of educational provision in those services.

Implications for naíonraí

Language development is one of the primary educational aims in naíonraí participating in the ECCE scheme. In the quality framework outlined by the Department, the references to ‘language’ pertain to the Irish language where the service is provided through the medium of Irish.


  • The inspections will be unannounced
  • Inspectors will spend no more than day with a service
  • Inspectors will not assess the language proficiency of naíonra staff directly
  • Inspectors will assess the capacity of naíonra staff to provide support for the development of the children’s language skills
  • Particular attention will be paid to how staff demonstrate appropriate language use to the children, and how the children’s language development is assisted

Quality Framework 

The Department of Education & Skills have published a quality framework for the scheme, available below in English and in Irish. Gaeloideachas is engaging with the Department re the implications this scheme will have for naíonraí, and how the scheme will facilitate services run through the medium of Irish.


A Guide to Early-Years Education-focused Inspection (EYEI) in Early-Years Settings Participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme (2016) was published by the Department of Education & Skills on 11 April 2016. The published Guide sets out the practices and procedures involved in the EYEI process which are effective from 11 April 2016. Early-years education-focused inspection (EYEI) evaluates the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE Programme.

Feedback and advice

The inspectors will give feedback and practical advice to the naíonra staff, as well as recommendations for the improvement of the service to promote the learning and development of children. Those working in the early-years sector will have the chance to give feedback on how these inspections are carried out.

Further information

Further information on the scheme is available from the Department, email or call 01 8896516.