Census results: preschool enrolments up

Census results: preschool enrolments up

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the Preschool Education Australia Report in February shows a significant increase in the proportion of four and five year old children attending all forms of early childhood education in NSW in 2017 compared to 2016.

The ABS report shows that across all forms of early childhood education, the proportion of four and five year old children enrolled for 600 hours of early childhood education in the year before school increased to 94.1 percent in 2017.  This is a significant increase from 85.1 per cent in 2016 and 76.9 per cent in 2015.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said these figures are consistent with the NSW Preschool Census results announced recently.

“These results demonstrate the success of the NSW Government’s Start Strong program, which focuses on reducing fees, improving quality and ensuring more children are enrolled for 600 hours in the year before school,” the Minister said.

Ms Mitchell said the Start Strong funding was targeting children who need it the most, particularly Aboriginal children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The Preschool Education Australia report also shows a 13.8 percent increase in the proportion of Aboriginal children and a 10.1 percent increase in the proportion of disadvantaged children enrolled for 600 hours in the year before school,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Commonwealth Government has also recently announced a total of $440m funding to extend the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education to 2019.

While welcoming the funding extension to the National Partnership, the NSW Department of Education, in conjunction with Minister Mitchell, is continuing to work on ensuring greater long term certainty with a goal of extending the partnership where possible to provide stability to families and the sector.

The Department of Education’s continued focus is on ensuring longer term and more sustainable funding arrangements to ensure we continue to improve outcomes for children participating in early childhood education in the future.

While enrolments in the sector continue to increase, the priority is on ensuring we have sufficient funds to offer the best possible solutions across the state, to continue to support families and improve outcomes for children.

More information on the Start Strong program is available on our website.

Note: In the ABS data collection, the proportion of children participating in early childhood services is calculated using all four and five year old enrolments divided by the estimated number of four year olds in the resident population.

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