Release of the ECE Aboriginal Strategy

The Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell has launched First Steps - the NSW Aboriginal Children’s Early Childhood Education Strategy 2021-2025.

The NSW Department of Education’s vision is that all Aboriginal children in NSW can access quality early childhood education (ECE) and are supported to embrace their culture and identity for a strong start to lifelong learning.

The First Steps strategy is a five-year plan that solidifies the department’s commitment to ensuring the best educational outcomes for Aboriginal children. We want to ensure that every Aboriginal child and family feels welcomed and that their culture is valued at their ECE service.

We are making a $23 million commitment to the first phase of the First Steps strategy. The strategy has been designed to work with Aboriginal people, families, communities and organisations to take bold and impactful action to improve outcomes for all Aboriginal children and to ensure they get the best start in life for lifelong learning.

In NSW we have seen growth in Aboriginal enrolments from just under 60% in 2016 to 83% in 2019.

The First Steps strategy has 5 initial targets:

  1. 95% of Aboriginal children will be enrolled in the year before school starts by 2025.
  2. 55% of Aboriginal Children will be assessed as developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census by 2031.
  3. 50% of Aboriginal children in ECE will have access to an Aboriginal language program by 2025.
  4. 3% of staff working in the department’s ECE directorates will be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  5. 100% of staff working in the department’s ECE directorates will have completed or commenced cultural awareness/safety training by 2025.

Additionally, the department is committed to increasing the capacity and number of Aboriginal community controlled ECE services in NSW.

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