ECA pleased with RoGS findings on quality and preschool enrolment

by Freya Lucas

February 04

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has welcomed both the improvement in preschool enrolment and the rise in quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services outlined in the latest Report on Government Services (RoGS).

 

ECA CEO Samantha Page described the findings as “heartening”, saying that the enrolment of more than 96 per cent of children nationally in 15 hours a week of preschool represented Australia “catching up with the rest of the world”.

 

Ms Page noted that some states and territories had achieved an enrolment rate of 100 per cent in the year before school, showcasing New South Wales as showing the biggest improvement with 93.2 per cent of children in the year before school now enrolled for more than 15 hours a week in a preschool program – up from 84.9 per cent in 2016.

 

Celebrating the improvement of enrolments in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Ms Page added that 96.6 per cent of eligible children had enrolled in a preschool program for 15 hours a week nationally. In NSW, Ms Page noted that enrolment rates have “risen considerably, up to 93.4 per cent in 2016, from 80.9 per cent in 2016”.

 

ECA also noted, as per the report, that the quality of early childhood education and care services also continues to improve. The number of services that meet or exceed the National Quality Standard (NQS) increased to 77.9 per cent from 73.4 per cent in 2017.

 

Significant improvements in the percentage of services rated Meeting and Exceeding the NQS were noted in:  

 

  • NSW – up from 67.4 per cent in 2017 to 75.5 per cent in 2018;

 

  • Australian Capital Territory – up from 66.6 per cent in 2017 to 73.1 per cent in 2018;

 

  • Western Australia – up from 61.5 per cent in 2017 to 67.6 per cent in 2018.

 

Despite the improvements, ECA cautioned that currently, only 58.5 per cent of Australian three-year-olds attend early learning, putting Australia in the bottom third of OECD countries.

 

According to the Australian Early Development Census, which looks at children’s development as they start formal schooling, children who participate in early learning have half the rate of vulnerability as compared to children who don’t attend any early learning.

 

“Improvements in quality and preschool enrolments are good news for children and families, as evidence indicates that children who attend high-quality early learning before they start school have better social, emotional and cognitive skills,” said Ms Page.

 

“The next step for Australia is to extend access and support to all children to attend high-quality preschool programs for two years before they start school, in keeping with many other OECD countries.”  

 

Further information about ECA can be found on their website, with information about the RoGS available here.

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