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Question and Answer Tracking Details

9588 - PRESCHOOL PARTICIPATION IN NEW SOUTH WALES

Greenwich, Alex to the Minister for Education representing the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education
  1. Is it true that New South Wales has the lowest preschool participation rates in the country?

  2. What proportion of three and four year old children in New South Wales attend preschool?

  3. What assessment has the Government made of the evidence and recommendations of the December 2017 'Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools through Early Childhood Interventions', showing that children who participate in high quality early childhood education do better at school, in employment, health, income and financial security measures and reduced involvement in crime?

  4. Is the Government committed to ongoing, adequate funding of Universal Access to early childhood education in the year before school?

    1. What steps have been taken to achieve this?

  5. Is the Government committed to expanding access to quality early childhood education for all three year olds?

    1. What steps have been taken to achieve this?

  6. Is the Government committed to targeted extra support for vulnerable children and families to promote access, equity and inclusion?

    1. What steps have been taken to achieve this?

  7. Is the Government committed to improving service quality and providing a stable skilled workforce?

    1. What steps have been taken to achieve this?

  8. Is the Government committed to transparent reporting and public information about access to early childhood education?

    1. What steps have been taken to achieve this?

  9. What further action will the Government take to improve access and outcomes in early childhood education?

Answer -

(1) and (2) This information is publicly available.

(3) The 2018-19 State Budget allocated a record $474.3 million to further initiatives consistent with the report's recommendations, and New South Wales is making two years of universal access available in community preschools from 2019.

(4) The Government's 2017-18 budget allocated an additional $217 million (over four years) for Start Strong reforms which aim to ensure all children in New South Wales can participate in 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the Year Before Full-time Schooling. The 2018-19 budget allocated $197.8 million over four years to extend the Government's investment in preschool education under Start Strong.

The Government is working closely with the Commonwealth Government to support more sustainable and transparent funding arrangements for Universal Access to Early Childhood Education.

(5) From 1 January 2019 the extension of Start Strong will provide funding to support all three year old children in community preschools in accessing 600 hours of preschool.

(6) The Government provides funding and loadings for various equity groups as part of Start Strong. There are a number of targeted programs that enhance access, equity and inclusion for vulnerable children and families.

Start Strong loadings apply to:

  •  Children from low-income and Aboriginal families
  •  Children with disability and additional needs in community preschools
  •  Children with English language needs
  •  Pre-school services in regional, remote and very remote areas.

(7) The Government is committed to building the capacity of the early childhood education workforce through professional development and training. The Quality Learning Environment program supports preschools to improve their service quality.

(8) The Government through the Department of Education collects and provides information on access which is used in combination with Australian Bureau of Statistics data and published in the Report on Government Services (ROGS).

(9) The Government funds initiatives and programs that support quality in early childhood education. The extension of Start Strong from January 2019 will ensure all three year olds have the opportunity to access two years of a quality preschool program.

Question asked on 18 October 2018 (session 56-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 208
Answer received on 22 November 2018 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 217