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.

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