Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS15 Alcohol

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 15

      Adults providing education and care must not use, or be under the influence of, alcohol or any other substance that has a detrimental effect on their functioning or behaviour while responsible for children participating in the service.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Hospital-based services will need to consider in advance the steps they would take if any adult providing education and care was found to be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance having a detrimental effect on their functioning or behaviour. This is a staff management issue and appropriate procedures would need to be followed.

      The service should follow the hospital’s employment policy on alcohol.

      Hospital service staff should be familiar with the hospital’s policy, and know who to take any concerns at possible breaches to.