National Disability Data Asset - Early Childhood Test Case

The National Disability Data Asset (NDDA) pilot ran for 18 months and ended in December 2021, where Commonwealth and state governments worked together to understand how to best link data to understand outcomes of people with disability – while protecting people’s privacy.

The NDDA pilot trialled how to link data through 5 public policy test cases, including the NSW Early Childhood test case led by the Early Childhood Education directorate in the NSW Department of Education.

The test case brought together 23 Commonwealth and NSW datasets that provided information on mainstream health, education, social supports, as well as targeted disability supports and services. The test case population consisted of 2.33 million children born in NSW between 2003 and 2019.

This test case explored the impacts of early support programs for children aged 0 to 7 years. The support programs were for children with disability and developmental delays before they started school. The test case aimed to increase privacy and security of sharing information and gave foundational information about how children and families used services. This could help with planning better supports for children with developmental delay and disability, and their families.

Summary findings:

  • By 7 years of age, 13% of children in this test case were identified with a disability, more than 25% of which had multiple disabilities.
  • More than 55% of children with disability were identified with ‘intellectual/learning’ disability.
  • 1 in 3 children with a placement in out-of-home-care had a disability, indicating an over-representation of children with disability in the child protection system.
  • The general practitioner is an important touchpoint almost universally accessed by children with disability (>99%).
  • Early childhood education was also well accessed by children with disability (approximately 80%).
  • Attendance in early childhood education was generally associated with better developmental and educational outcomes.
  • The proportion of children who achieved below National Minimum Standard on the Grade 3 NAPLAN was higher amongst children with disability and/or developmental vulnerability.
  • Children with disability had a higher average number of days absent from school and more than 2 times the rate of school suspensions, compared to children with no disability.

Detailed information on the summary findings can be found on the NDDA test cases webpage. The comprehensive research report and appendix linked below provide a thorough analysis on the relationship between the use of early childhood education/supports and its impact on child developmental and educational outcomes.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
Return to top of page Back to top