The Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. Its goal is to empower service providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can fully participate in the ECCE programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.
AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the service provider. For many children, the universal supports offered under the model will be sufficient. For others, one particular discrete support may be required to enable participation in pre-school, such as access to a piece of specialised equipment. For a small number, a suite of different services and supports may be necessary. In other words, the model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting. It will offer tailored, practical supports based on need and will not require a formal diagnosis of disability.
Please see end of page for information on training sessions for AIM application process for September 2021 pre-school year
AIM provides a suite of universal and targeted supports across 7 levels.
Universal supports are designed to promote and support an inclusive culture within pre-school settings by means of a variety of educational and capacity-building initiatives. Specifically:
The supports at levels 1 to 3, when appropriately developed, have been found internationally to be sufficient to support many children with disabilities. However, where a service provider, in partnership with a parent or guardian, considers that some further additional support may be necessary to meet the needs of a particular child, they can apply for one or more of the following targeted supports:
Service providers and parents or guardians will be able to submit applications for AIM supports from June 2016 to allow them to plan ahead for pre-school enrolment in September 2016 and thereafter. It should be noted that applications will remain open throughout the year although, in the case of children with more complex disabilities, parents and providers are encouraged to apply early.
Early Years Practitioners can apply for the new higher education programme, “Leadership for Inclusion in the Early Years” or LINC, at www.lincprogramme.ie.
National training programmes in relation to the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Guidelines, as well as in relation to disability and inclusion more generally, will be advertised on this website and on the websites of all City and County Childcare Committees. Service providers and practitioners will be able to apply for places on these training programmes via their local City or County Childcare Committee.
Advice and support from the Early Years Specialist Service (Access and Inclusion) can be accessed by phone (01 511 7222), e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the AIM online application form at www.pobal.ie.
This form only needs to be completed once to access supports across levels 4, 5, 6 or 7. To apply for specialised equipment, appliances or a grant towards minor alterations, service providers, in partnership with parents or guardians, should complete the relevant part of the aforementioned online application form on PIP.
To apply for therapy services or additional capitation to fund extra support in the classroom, service providers, in partnership with parents or guardians, should complete the online application form on PIP, including the Access and Inclusion Profile section of the form. It is estimated that only 1 to 1.5% of children in ECCE will require, and therefore be eligible for, the Level 7 additional capitation.
Finally, while the Access and Inclusion Model is being introduced from June 2016, full implementation will take time as capacity is built across the sector.
Where AIM Level 5 equipment and/or alterations are required, the preschool provider, in conjunction with the parent(s) can make an application for AIM Level 5 support via the AIM tab on the PIP Portal.
Once a child is eligible for ECCE an AIM Level 5 application can be made at any time throughout the pre-school year. However we encourage applications to be submitted early to ensure support is in place as soon as possible.
For children who are currently receiving AIM supports and are eligible to avail of a 2nd year of the ECCE programme from September 2019
If the child is eligible and is returning to the same pre-school setting for a second year and circumstances have not changed, services in receipt of AIM Level 7 supports must submit a 2nd year extension request for all eligible children. This request can be submitted via the AIM tab on the PIP Portal from Wednesday 1st May.
If the child who is currently availing of AIM supports is moving to another pre-school, a new AIM application has to be made by the new pre-school provider in conjunction with the parent(s).
New AIM applications:
For children eligible for the ECCE programme for the first time from September 2019 where AIM supports are required, the pre-school provider, in conjunction with the parent(s) should make an application for AIM by completing an Access and Inclusion Profile.
To apply for a child’s 1st year AIM Level 7 support a service request must be included in the submission of a Level 4: AIM Application. This application form can be accessed via the AIM tab on the PIP Portal and will be available from Wednesday 1st May.
Please contact email@example.com if you require any support in the submission of your application.
Applications should be made as early as possible to ensure that the relevant supports are in place when required.
In order to apply for AIM Level 4, 5, or 7, consent from the Parent/Guardian is required to be submitted with the child’s application. This will enable the Early Years Specialist and other professionals to support a child’s inclusion in the pre-school for the duration of his or her ECCE registration and to plan for his or her transition to primary school.
The information required on the AIM informed consent form includes;
The form should then be uploaded onto PIP and submitted with the application. This form is a legal document and should be completed in full and all signatures need to be dated.
Applications cannot be processed without been fully completed and will be returned.
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can meaningfully participate in the ECCE Programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education. Further information on the programme and the range of supports available can be found here.https://aim.gov.ie/
AIM Level 5
The application process for AIM Level 5 for the 2021/22 pre-school year will remain on PIP and will open for applications on Friday 14th May. Applicant guidelines can be found here.AIM Level 5 Applicant Guidelines
AIM Level 4 and 7
The application process for AIM Level 4 (expert early years educational advice and support) for the 2021/22 pre-school year will open on the Hive on Friday 14th May. Where required, Level 7 (additional assistance in the pre-school room) can be requested as part of the Level 4 application. Further guidance on the application process can be found here Guide for AIM Level 4 Application.
As this is a new process on HIVE, training sessions have been organised via Webinar to provide service providers with an overview of the application process. Please see below for further details and relevant webinar links.
Date/Time: Monday 17th May 6.30pm to 8.15pm
Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8919315705241253134
Date/Time: Tuesday 18th May 6.30pm to 8.15pm
Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4742968121692320014
Date/Time: Wednesday 19th May 6.30pm to 8.15pm
Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6727376603107150862
Date/Time: Thursday 20th May 6.30pn to 8.15pm
Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7841630482788417806
Please note that the maximum number of participants per session is 500.
Help and support
Should you have any queries in relation to the AIM, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre by raising a Request on Hive using the following categories:.
• Request Type: Application
• Request Type Detail: General
• Request Programme: (select the AIM Level)
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