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The current fragmentation of the early education field in Ireland (primary schools, sessional services, full day care and childminding all coming under this umbrella term) has lead to difficulties in implementing universal quality initiatives. The government has taken steps to address this with the introduction of Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education. Now in its pilot phase, there has been poor uptake from National schools. In this study, semi structured interviews and focus groups were carried out with a group of Infant class teachers and Principals from the pilot programme to explore what factors influence their decision not to implement Síolta. The study also investigates whether this reaction to Síolta is a trend that we can expect to continue during the national roll out? In addition, their narratives were compared to those of infant class teachers with a primary degree in early education. The findings showed teachers have strong negative opinions in relation to Síolta and identified structural, dynamic and personal barriers stopping junior schools from engaging. More specifically, curriculum overload, lack of time during the school day for paperwork and class sizes were identified as major barriers. Additionally, the present study recommended that there is scope for further research of this kind to include different socioeconomic areas and non-DEIS schools.
O'Neill, Sandra: Síolta the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education; Teacher’s perspectives. Dublin, DIT, September 2009.