Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies

First Advisor

Dr Judith Butler

Second Advisor

Dr Joe Moynihan


Travellers are a distinct cultural group, gaining ethnicity in March 2017 but who have traditionally experienced educational disadvantage (Pavee Point, 2018). This study examines the challenges that Traveller children encounter in accessing the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (DCYA, 2019) in Ireland. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is widely acknowledged as having a positive impact on children’s holistic development, school success and later outcomes (Boyce et al, 2018; OECD, 2018, NCCA, 2009). This study is underpinned by the bio-ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2007), which considers the child as a construct of their immediate surroundings and the larger beliefs of the society in which they reside. This research identifies, where Traveller Children are accessing ECCE and identifies the challenges faced by Traveller Children and their families in accessing ECCE provision. This research set out to identify the reasons for the poor uptake of Traveller children to the ECCE scheme (DYCA, 2019) and the challenges surrounding this from a parental and practitioner viewpoint. In-depth semi-structured interviews are the methodological approach used to examine these challenges. Findings suggest that there was an evolution in policy concerning Travellers from a focus on deficit and assimilation in the 1960s and 1970s to a growing recognition of Traveller culture and identity (DCYA, 2010, 2019). Difficulties surrounding Pobal’s funding for the ECCE scheme was a concern for practitioners. Essentially, haphazard attendance of the Traveller child causes a major problem around funding compliance. Recommendations suggest that a more understanding approach in the area of policy is patent especially concerning Pobal’s funding criteria for the ECCE Scheme (DYCA, 2019). Fundamentally, this research advocates for culturally sensitive ECCE provision, and recommends fully funded training for practitioners on this approach and in particular on diversity, equality, and inclusion so that not only the needs of all Traveller children are attended to but that their rights as human beings are also safeguarded.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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