The vision for the National Early Years Access Initiative (NEYAI) is to build a national evidence-base for policy and practice in order to improve the quality, coordination and outcomes of services for 0-6 year olds. In this way, the initiative aspires to ‘leave in place a sustainable legacy for the future’. That is why, within this vision, projects are referred to as a ‘demonstration sites’ and ‘demonstration projects’, denoting that their core function is to demonstrate more effective and efficient ways to promote better outcomes for 0-6 year old children and their parents. In other words, the vision implies that NEYAI projects, through the demonstration effect of their work, have the capacity to improve services for all 0-6 year old children in Ireland, which currently amount to approximately 360,000 children.

The task of the NEYAI Evaluation is to ensure that impacts of the intervention can be measured in a statistically robust manner and lessons learned so that they can be applied to the early childhood care and education (ECCE) sector as a whole.

The Research Protocol for the evaluation was approved by the Evaluation and Learning Expert Advisory Group in October 2011. This document sets out how the Evaluation Team will evaluate NEYAI. The protocol draws upon internationally-recognised evaluation practices to meet the unique requirements of the initiative. It has been prepared in consultation with the 11 projects that make up the NEYAI in order to ensure an alignment between project implementation and project evaluation.

To view the Research Protocol, click here.