Lifting our Game: independent report highlights value of ECE

Lifting our Game: independent report highlights value of ECE

The final report in a national educational review, Lifting Our Game was commissioned jointly by State and Territory governments, and provides compelling evidence for a stronger focus on early childhood education, including the need to recognise its contribution in preparing children for school.

The independent review, conducted by Susan Pascoe AM and Professor Deborah Brennan, includes recommendations across six key themes. They include: sustainable funding, expanding ECE for three year olds, additional support for vulnerable children, quality improvement, parent and community engagement and supporting transparency and accountability.

“Quality early childhood education makes a significant contribution to achieving educational excellence in schools,” the report states. “There is growing evidence that participation in quality early childhood education improves school readiness and lifts NAPLAN results and PISA”.

The report makes clear that education is a lifelong journey, and participation in quality early childhood education improves school results, makes children less likely to require additional support in school and more likely to complete Year 12. It’s also linked with better health, wellbeing and employment prospects later in life. Early childhood education can also help break the cycle of disadvantage for vulnerable children, and provides a high return on investment.

Researchers found that participation in a high quality preschool program is equivalent to 10 to 20 NAPLAN points at the Year 3 level, with the benefits of participating in early childhood education even greater for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

While the benefits of quality ECE are widely accepted internationally, the Review found a need to “change from the mindset of separating the concept of education from care.”

“There are clear ways for early childhood interventions to make a greater contribution to educational excellence in Australian schools, as well as improve child and community outcomes across a range of areas,” the report says.

The review’s report and findings complement the Commonwealth Government's Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, chaired by Mr David Gonski AC, which is due to report in March 2018.

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