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Start Strong – at a glance

Start Strong aims to ensure all children participate in 600 hours of preschool education in the year before school.

The Start Strong funding reforms were announced in 2016 and introduced from 1 January 2017, to support access to early childhood education for more children across the state.

The new funding model is designed to significantly reduce preschool fees, making 600 hours of early childhood education more affordable for all families.

Research shows that children who participate in a quality early childhood education program for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning.

The benefits endure well beyond primary school. Higher levels of educational attainment, economic participation and family well-being have all been linked to moderate levels of participation in early childhood education.

Find out more in the early childhood education section.

November 2017 – Fee reduction results announced

June 2017 – budget announced

The Start Strong funding reforms were announced in 2016. The NSW Government allocated an additional $115 million to support access to 600 hours of quality early childhood education for all children in the year before school.

Research in early education demonstrates that a ‘moderate’ level of access to early childhood education is likely to have the most benefit for children. This is estimated at somewhere between 9 and 30 hours per week, depending on a child’s circumstances. 600 hours is a measure that’s used to calculate the recommended hours for the year.

Importantly, children from disadvantaged backgrounds see the greatest benefits from quality early childhood education. The optimum level of participation in early childhood education will depend on each child’s circumstance, such as the impact of disadvantage and disability, as well as the quality of the service.

There is general agreement that access to at least 15 hours per week, or 600 hours per year, of quality preschool in the year before full-time school leads to improved outcomes for children.

Services that meet the program criteria are eligible to apply for Start Strong funding.

Contact details

Information and inquiries team
1300 755 426

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