Grants to improve flexibility in early childhood education
A $20 million trial grants program aims to improve working families’ access to early childhood education and care.
03 October 2023
The NSW Government has launched a $20 million trial grants program aimed at improving working families’ access to early childhood education and care when and where they need it most.
Offering providers a pool of up to $20 million over two years, the Flexible Initiatives Trial will provide grants to support existing ECEC services to expand and innovate, to better meet the needs of children and families and allow parents to enter the workforce or increase their hours.
New or adapted operating models will include:
- extending hours of care beyond traditional working hours
- providing flexible pick-up and drop-off times
- improved access to ad hoc care arrangements outside scheduled hours
- establishing new family day care services in remote areas.
The Flexible Initiatives Trial includes funding to ensure the workforce is supported to deliver flexible models of ECEC. It is one of a suite of ECEC programs to be delivered by the NSW Government in 2023-24, which aim to improve affordability and access.
As part of its recent Budget, the NSW Government affirmed a $5 billion investment in the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund (the Fund) to boost the early childhood workforce and make ECEC affordable and accessible for more families.
The fund will help deliver on new initiatives that directly support those who need it most – children, families and the early childhood education workforce.
It will also be used to provide $500 per child of fee relief to three-year-old children attending eligible preschool programs in long day care centres, effective from early 2024.
Additional programs will be made available over the coming months.
All eligible ECEC service provider types are invited to apply for the Flexible Initiatives Trial, with funding to support family day care services on offer for the first time.
Applications are now open for the first round of the program, and close on 1 December 2023.
Visit the NSW Department of Education website for more information, including the program guidelines, eligibility and upcoming information sessions.
Acting Minister for Education and Early Learning Penny Sharpe said:
“Flexible early childhood education and care options are a critical need for working families, particularly for parents and carers who are in part-time, casual or shift work.
“The Flexible Initiatives Trial is part of the Minns Government’s commitment to improving access to early childhood education and care.
“Through the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund, exciting new initiatives are being developed to respond to the most pressing needs of the sector and the community.”
- Ministerial media releases