End of year message from the Minister

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell shares an end of year video message.

End of Year Message from Minister Mitchell

Hi, I'm Sarah Mitchell, the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning.

As we near the end of the year,  I wanted to take this opportunity to send a very big thank you to you, our early childhood education and out of school hours care sector for your incredible work during 2021.

Looking back on this year, it has been a huge year for ECE and for OOSH.

COVID-19 continued to keep us on our toes and I know created many challenges for the sector throughout the year.

I would really like to acknowledge your resilience in navigating these challenges as you've continued to provide quality education, care and support to children and their families right across New South Wales.

For this, I want to say thank you. 

Just this month, New South Wales became the first state to sign on to the preschool reform agreement.

I'm really excited by this because we are confident that this historic funding agreement is going to increase certainty for the sector, but also improve access and quality outcomes, benefiting all children regardless of the service type they attend for preschool from 2023.

The free preschool program will also continue in 2022 for community and mobile services who opt in.

We know that this is having a really positive impact on participation.

With over 46,000 children receiving at least one day of free preschool this year and most receiving two days.

And that's despite the impacts of COVID 19.

We've also seen more enrollments in mobile and community preschools across the state, meaning that there are more children learning and getting the best possible start in life, which is incredibly exciting.

Attending the launch of the first Steps Aboriginal ECE Strategy in Brewarrina in June was a highlight of my year and will always stay with me as a really important milestone for early childhood education.

We know how important it is for families in New South Wales to have access to flexible, affordable and convenient early childhood education services.

And over the past twelve months, the Department of Education has delivered out of school hours care hubs across 46 schools in New South Wales, creating almost two and a half thousand additional spaces for students.

These are custom designed modular buildings, including facilities for student activities as well as administration and storage areas.

I'm also excited for a continued increase of Aboriginal languages and culture embedded in early childhood education services and for more Aboriginal children to be enrolled in early childhood education across New South Wales, which we all know is just so important.

Quality across the sector also continues to increase, with more ECE services rated as meeting the National Quality Standard and above.

In the 2021 calendar year, 86.4% approved and in scope services were rated as meeting the national quality standard and above an increase on 2020.

And this is really something for us all to celebrate.

Can I finish by saying, I hope you all get to take the time over the holiday season to enjoy time with family and friends.

Thank you so much for all of your efforts this year.

I can't wait to see you all in 2022 to relax refreshed and ready to go for another exciting year in early childhood education in New South Wales.

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