Goodstart reports strong 2018 performance in Annual Report
Goodstart Early Learning, Australia’s largest provider of early learning and care services, has reported a strong performance in 2018 making progress in all six of their strategic focus areas of financial sustainability, high quality, influence, inclusion, great people and evidence, according to the provider’s newly published 2018 Annual Report.
Key highlights from the report include:
- Group revenues from early learning centres increased 5.6 per cent in the period
- Reported occupancy increased by 1.2 per cent
- The net financial surplus for the year was $8.009 million, up from $2.613 million the previous year
- 91 per cent of all Goodstart centres have been assessed as meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard
- All centres that were re-assessed in the past two years have seen quality ratings improve
- $14.8 million was invested in professional development in the period and a new general manager of pedagogy and practice appointed
- Employee initiated turnover has halved in the last eight years, and injury rates for children and adults are at all time low levels
- $9.8 million was invested in a range of inclusion programs with the Group’s foundational Family Connections program being delivered in 314 centres
- Goodstart’s first cultural liaison officer was appointed with Arilla being selected to partner with the group to deliver cultural competency training to the organisation
- 27,000 parents and educators have signed up to the Smart Start campaign to promote early learning benefits
- $24.408 million was spent on leasehold improvements and plant and equipment with 506 centres now upgraded or painted in the past three years
- Cash on balance sheet was $58.6 million and term deposits were $42 million. Total debt was $13.462 million.
Julia Davison, Chief Operating Officer, noted “By any measure, Goodstart has had a good year. For the second year in a row, our quality ratings have improved, our occupancy levels have increased and we have kept our fee increases below the sector average.”
Ms Davison went on to state “Measures of family satisfaction and staff retention continue to improve, and we have been able to invest more in social inclusion and the quality of educational practice and environments.”
The group noted their contribution to the development and subsequent launch of the Child Care Subsidy, and their ongoing efforts to lobby for change to ensure that parents rendered worse off by the policy have access to early learning and care services.
Goodstart has now commenced progressing their next big campaign which is securing access and long-term funding for two years of early learning before school.
Goodstart Chairman Michael Traill commented “We are working to ensure that the policy building blocks laid down in the last year will become a foundation for a greater public policy commitment to the early years.”
Goodstart now employs 1,066 early childhood teachers (ECTs) and continues to work towards the target of employing at least ECTs in each of centre by 2020, but went on to note that a critical shortage in ECTs would make achieving that target difficult.
Mr Trail noted “A national early years workforce strategy is urgently required to ensure there is an adequate supply of quality educators for our children.”
Strategic investment spending increased by 18 per cent to $28.723 million, with training and professional development spending up 4.9 per cent to $14.773 million; early learning research spending remained the same as the previous year at $4.118 million; and, social inclusion spending was up 59.6 per cent to $9.832 million.
To sum up the provider’s 2018 performance, Ms Davison noted “Goodstart is well on the way to taking to the next level of our vision to give Australia’s children the best possible start in life.”