Early Childhood Teaching Scholarships Program
Scholarships to help increase the number of qualified early childhood teachers in the early childhood education sector in NSW.
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The Department of Education is committed to attracting, retaining, growing and developing an engaged and valued Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) workforce to deliver high quality services for children and families in NSW.
The 2023-24 Early Childhood Teaching (ECT) Scholarships Program supports this commitment by providing eligible scholars with financial support to complete an ECT qualification.
Importance of an early childhood teaching qualification
Early childhood teachers are invaluable to the quality and care of centre-based services and mobile services. They deliver high-quality teaching and learning to young children and help them get the best start in life and learning.
To align with Education and Care National Regulations, NSW centre-based services with 30 or more preschool-aged children or under are required to have at least one early childhood teacher in attendance.
About the scholarships
The scholarships provide financial assistance to scholars who intend to be or who are employed in eligible NSW early childhood education and care services, including centre-based preschool, mobile preschool, long day care or family day care.
Scholarships available for eligible applicants to complete an early childhood teaching (ECT) qualification:
up to $25,000 to complete a Bachelor level or Master level ECT qualification
up to $15,000 to complete a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma level ECT qualification
Applicants must not already have an ECT qualification recognised by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
These qualifications can be studied at universities or other vocational education and training providers, including TAFE.
The final number of scholarships awarded may vary depending on the financial award provided to each scholar. For instance, if the scholar has partially completed a qualification by completing more than the standard recognised prior learning.
To be eligible to apply for the 2023-24 Early Childhood Education Scholarship program, applicants must:
currently studying or intending to complete an ECT qualification (e.g. Bachelor, Master, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma) recognised by ACECQA on the approved qualifications list.
not already have an ECT qualification recognised by ACECQA
complete the qualification by 31 December 2032
not be in receipt of any other duplicate scholarship funding related to the course for which the scholarship is sought
intend to work, or continue working, in one of following NSW ECEC service types upon completion of qualification: centre-based preschool, mobile preschool, long day care or family day care
- reside in NSW and meet one of the below criteria:
- be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or
- be a permanent Australian resident, or
- be a humanitarian visa holder.
An exemption from the NSW residency requirements may be provided where the applicant can demonstrate they are working or intend to work in NSW early childhood education and care services. An example of this would be an applicant living in a border region where the applicant is already employed in a NSW early childhood education and care service.
Applicants may study full-time or part-time.
It is expected that a scholar commences study within twelve months of the scholarship award. Scholarship recipients may defer their study for a period of up to 12 months, with the department's prior approval.
How to apply for a scholarship
The 2023-24 Early Childhood Teaching Scholarships Program will remain open until the allocated budget is exhausted or 30 June 2024. See the application assessment process section below for more information.
Applicants are asked to supply the following information, via the SmartyGrants form:
contact information for the applicant
if relevant, Current employment in a NSW ECEC service (centre-based preschool, mobile preschool, long day care or family day care).
details of the qualification currently enrolled in or intending to enrol in
intended completion date
supporting statements outlining motivation and intent
proof of identity
proof of Australian citizenship, permanent residency, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizenship
proof of home address.
Application assessment process
Applications for the 2023-24 Early Childhood Teaching Scholarships Program will close when the allocated budget has been exhausted or on 30 June 2024. There may be up to 3 processing batches for applications submitted during this time.
Eligible applicants will be prioritised based on the date that the application is lodged, including if the allocated budget is exhausted during the batch period. For example, if the allocated budget is exhausted during Batch 1, there will be no Batch 2 or 3 and no further applications will be accepted.
Proposed Batch Period (unless allocated budget is exhausted, are listed below):
- Applications submitted by 12 November 2023
- Applications submitted from 13 November 2023 to 31 March 2024 (this batch will not be run if the allocated budget is exhausted in Batch 1)
- Applications submitted from 1 April 2024 to 30 June 2024 (this batch will not be run if the allocated budget is exhausted in Batch 1 or 2)
In the event of significant changes to the proposed batch periods, the sector and/or applicants will be notified by the department.
Applications submitted during the proposed batches will be checked for eligibility and completeness. The department may contact applicants to clarify factual information, particularly on the eligibility criteria.
Assessment of applications will be based on information provided by applicants. A competitive assessment process may be utilised. The assessment process will also consider how the applicant will contribute to the NSW ECEC sector.
Endorsement of scholarships awards will be subject to the number of applicants considered through the assessment process to be suitable for a scholarship grant award, and the allocated budget.
Successful applicants will be offered a scholarship to complete an early childhood teaching (ECT) qualification recognised by ACECQA on the approved qualifications list:
up to $25,000 to complete a Bachelor level or Master level ECT qualification
up to $15,000 to complete a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma level ECT qualification.
Individual grant award will be confirmed with each scholar up to the maximum amount applicable for their qualification. Individual grants awards will consider the application information and an adjustment to reflect any completed units beyond the standard recognised prior learning provided for diploma qualified educators (for instance if the scholar has partially completed an ECT qualification). Individual grant awards will be confirmed as part of an individual Deed of Agreement and the initial payment process.
Payments will be made in instalments upon successful completion of milestones based on a scholar’s progress in the qualification and enrolment in practical units where relevant. Further detail regarding payments will be provided as part of the information package for successful applicants. Payments will not be made for units of study completed prior to the award of the scholarship, where this exceeds the standard recognised prior learning provided for a diploma qualified educator.
Use of funds
Successful applicants are required to sign a Deed of Agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the scholarship.
Scholarship recipients can decide how best to use the funds to support their studies. This may include, but is not limited to, costs of undertaking the qualification and living expenses.
Upon completion of study there is an expectation that scholarship recipients maintain or seek employment in the early childhood education and care sector in NSW (centre-based preschools, mobile preschools, long day care or family day care) if not already employed in this sector.
Eligible early childhood teaching qualifications
The course must be an early childhood teaching (ECT) qualification recognised by ACECQA on the approved qualifications list. This includes the following qualification types:
Scholarship recipients may enrol in a course offered by any registered Australian higher education provider located in another state/territory – including universities and vocational education and training providers such as TAFE.
Applications for this program can now be submitted until the allocated budget is exhausted or 30 June 2024. See Application assessment process for batch assessment dates.
- Applications are now open until allocated budget is exhausted or on 30 June 2024.
- Completion of qualification, including practicums, should occur by December 2032. This allow scholars who wish to study part time to complete an equivalent 4 year degree.
- The deadline for final submission evidence for final milestone payment will be March 2033.
If you have any enquiries about the 2023-24 Early Childhood Teaching Scholarship Program, please contact the department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
To ensure a prompt and accurate enquiry support, please include the following details in your email:
contact information (email preferred)
application ID (if you have made an application in SmartyGrants).