Welcome to the home page of the Evaluation of the National Early Years Access Initiative (NEYAI-Evaluation). The evaluation is being conducted by a team of researchers comprising Dr. Kieran McKeown (Project co-ordinator), Trutz Haase (Data Analyst) and Professor Jay Belsky (Research Director of the UK’s National Evaluation of Sure Start Research Team).

NEYAI has been a four-year initiative, 2011-2014, which was set up to find ways of improving services for 0-6 year-old children by evaluating the innovative work of its 11 NEYAI projects in over 130 early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings. The initiative aspires to ‘leave in place a sustainable legacy for the future’ because it has the capacity to improve services for all 0-6 year old children in Ireland, which currently amount to approximately 360,000 children. That is why evaluation is an integral part of NEYAI and involves detailed surveys of children, parents and practitioners in a sample of 64 participating childcare centres.

Síolta, from the Irish word ‘seed’, is the official quality framework for all ECCE services in Ireland. It comprises 12 principles, which encapsulate the overall vision of the quality framework; 16 standards which cover the individual areas of early years practice such as play, interactions, transitions, environments and so forth; and 75 components which set out detailed indicators for these standards. Since 2010, over 130 ECCE settings have participated in the Siolta Quality Assurance Programme and a representative sample of 34 of these centres is being studied as part of this evaluation.

The evaluation of the NEYAI and Siolta QAP concluded in May 2014 and its results are documented in a series of five reports, all of which can be downloaded below.