Every family should have access to affordable quality early education.
Children who participate in quality early learning are more likely to succeed at school and have improved lifelong education, social and economic outcomes.
We want every child to have the best start in life.
So we're investing $1.3 billion over four years to make preschool more affordable for every family in NSW. That means continuing fee relief for children in community, mobile or Department of Education preschools, and introducing fee relief for 4 and 5 year old children in preschool programs in long daycare.
These changes will save families up to $4,220 per child per year in community and mobile preschools, and $2,110 per child per year in preschool programs in long day care. Ask your service about the details today.
Affordable preschool means more children can access the support they need to thrive, and more parents can work the hours they want.
The Early Years Commitment. Brighter Beginnings, Big Futures.
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Fee relief for all families with children in preschool
Starting in 2023, an investment of $1.3 billion over 4 years will provide fee-relief for families with children in preschool.
Funding for 3-year-old preschool in long day care will also be introduced for the first time. An additional $64.1 million over 2 years has been committed to trial funding support to long day care services to enable more 3-year-old children to participate in a preschool program.
These investments are in addition to the $840 million in funding over 4 years to deliver the Preschool Reform Agreement’s goals of increasing preschool access attendance and quality in the year before school. The Preschool Reform Agreement and the Affordable Preschool initiative will be delivered through Start Strong.
What this means for families
3-5 year old children in community, mobile and public preschools
Fee relief for all children in a community, mobile or Department of Education preschool will continue into 2023.
This means families will save up to $4,220 a year for 3-5 year old children in community and mobile preschools.
Families will be provided the equivalent of 5 days per fortnight of affordable preschool for all children in Department of Education preschools.
The program will provide community and mobile preschools and public preschools with sustainable long-term funding to deliver 600 hours of low, or no cost, preschool to eligible children. This program will provide families with funding certainty over time, and will replace the Start Strong Free Preschool funding, which ceased at the end of 2022.
4 and 5 year old preschoolers in long day care
Preschool fee relief for 4 and 5 year old children in long day care has been introduced.
This means families will save up to $2,110 a year for 4-5 year-old children in eligible preschool programs in long day care.
This is in addition to Child Care Subsidy payments.
Affordable Preschool will be delivered, together with the Preschool Reform Agreement, through Start Strong.
3 year old preschoolers in long day care
NSW was the first state to invest in comprehensive and ongoing 3-year-old preschool funding for community preschools.
A 2 year trial of funding support to long day care services will enable more 3-year-old children to participate in a preschool program.
How fee relief will work with the Child Care Subsidy
The different level of payment per child in long day care services recognises that most families in long day care services are eligible to receive the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy (CCS).
The CCS does not apply to community and mobile preschools or Department of Education preschools.
Under the Preschool Reform Agreement, long day care services will also see an increase in funding for preschool delivery from the NSW and Australian Governments from 2023. This will enable these services to continue to improve the quality of their preschool program.
Ensuring savings are passed on to families
We are confident services are keen to do the right thing to help families.
Services will need to show savings to families on their bill and there will be strong audit and compliance processes requiring services to demonstrate funding has been passed on to families in the form of relief.
The department will provide services with more detail on how this process will work, as well as information on all other relevant requirements, prior to the commencement of the program in 2023.
Parents who do not receive the full fee-relief to offset gap fees will be encouraged to hold services accountable and report breaches to the department.
Can families get fee relief from more than one preschool service
No, you can only access fee relief from one eligible service at any given time.
An eligible service may include a community preschool or long day care service.
All parents or caregivers are required to complete a declaration form that nominates which service you are choosing to receive your fee relief from. Your service will assist with this process.
Kristen and Ashley
Kristen and Ashley live in Bathurst with their 2 children, Mika and Hudson. Kristen works 3 days a week and Ashley works 4 days a week. Their 4-year-old daughter, Mika, attends a long day care and their 3-year-old son, Hudson, attends a community preschool.
Their current family income is $135,000 and their annual out-of-pocket costs for Mika for 30 hours of care a week are $7,695. Their out-of-pocket cost for Hudson is $0 because they receive Start Strong Free Preschool funding, which is due to conclude at the end of 2022.
With Affordable Preschool, in 2023, Kristen and Ashley save up to $2,110 from their out-of-pocket costs for Mika from the new affordability measures*. They will continue to save up to $4,220 per year on the cost of Hudson’s community preschool fees, in line with the new subsidy amount for the Start Strong program. Kristen will also work more days per week as they can afford additional care.
* The out-of-pocket costs (after the Child Care Subsidy) have been derived from the out-of-pocket costs of childcare for families with one child in 30 hours of care published in the Report on Government Services (2022).
Alma and Carlos
Alma and Carlos recently moved to Granville with their son, Alfie. Alma currently works 3 days a week and on these days, Carlos stays home to care for 3 year old Alfie.
Their current family income is $55,000. Alma and Carlos would like to put Alfie in long day care when he turns 4, to participate in a preschool program before he goes to school. Currently they cannot afford to, as the family’s annual out-of-pocket costs for Alfie for 30 hours of care a week would be $2,310.
With Affordable Preschool, in 2023 Alma and Carlos save up to $2,110 from their out-of-pocket costs. This means Alma and Carlos only have an annual gap fee of $200 and can now afford to send Alfie to preschool. Carlos is now planning to return to the workforce.
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To provide feedback or ask us a question about the Early Years Commitment please contact:
Early Years Commitment team