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Press Release

Minister Zappone joins Youth Ministers at British-Irish Council Ministerial Meeting of the Early Years Workstream (Friday)

Published: 4 October 2019
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, will attend the British Irish Council (BIC) Ministerial Meeting of the Early Years Workstream being hosted in Cardiff by Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan AM.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the British-Irish Council, Minister Zappone said:

“The British-Irish Council provides an important forum for Member Administrations to discuss Early Years policy development and implementation and provides an opportunity for us to share our experiences with other administrations. Since the Ministerial Council last met, Ireland has introduced many positive policy initiatives to support the Early Years sector to make quality early learning and care and school age childcare more accessible and affordable for families in Ireland."
“I welcome the opportunity to discuss our mutual advances in early learning with all our British colleagues and to reiterate that, whatever challenges Brexit may bring to our countries, we will continue to support each other to the mutual benefit of children and families and those who serve them throughout our jurisdictions.”

The meeting will also be attended by Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People; Hon. Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture; Deputy Rhian Tooley, Member of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture; Senator Tracey Vallois, Minister of Education and by officials on behalf of the United Kingdom Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Ministerial Meeting of the Early Years Workstream will provide an opportunity for Ministers to review the work sector report, ‘Early Years – Sharing Policy and Practice Across the Administrations of the British-Irish Council’ which captures the breadth of the work undertaken over recent years, and demonstrates the significant benefit gained by Member Administrations from their collective participation in the BIC Early Years Policy work sector. Ministers will also discuss the key challenges and opportunities for joint working ahead to inform the Future Work Plan for the Early Years Policy work sector.

Key themes that have been identified include:

  • the workforce
  • narrowing the gap
  • language, communication and early literacy
  • quality

A Communiqué will issue from the BIC at the conclusion of the Ministerial Meeting of the Early Years Workstream.


Notes to the Editor:

The British-Irish Council established under the 1998 Multi-Party Agreement continues to play a valuable role in developing and furthering links between its eight Member Administrations. It provides a dynamic forum for exchange of information and collaboration on policies of mutual interest and it fosters positive, practical relationships across these islands.

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