ACT signals Early Childhood Strategy release in 2019/20 Budget Papers
The ACT Government has handed down its 2019/20 Budget in which it prioritised a commitment to early childhood education and signalled that the ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Ms Yvette Berry, would be launching the new Early Childhood Strategy over the course of the year.
The Early Childhood Strategy, a project being driven by Ms Berry, forms part of the broader “The Future of Education” conversation and is expected to focus on four primary elements, namely;
- increasing access, equity and affordability of early education,
- enhancing workforce and qualification,
- ensuring a seamless transition from early education to school and;
- maximising the impact of funds spent on the early educational experience of children.
The development of the strategy has been occurring over the past 12 months and has been informed by extensive consultation with families, children, educators, providers, community organisations, peak bodies, unions, professional associations as well as national and international experts.
A central component of the Early Childhood Strategy will be a program for transitioning to free Universal Access for three year olds to quality early childhood education and care. This policy initiative was announced in July 2018 and has remained a central focus for the ACT Government.
Within the 2019/20 Education Directorate budget papers funding has been allocated to the following key ECEC initiatives:
- ACT Early Childhood Strategy – $10.9 million is being committed to this strategy over four years with $2.2 million allocated for 2019/20. This funding will be used to further universal access priorities in conjunction with grants received from the commonwealth.
- Expansion of Franklin Early Childhood School – $29.5 million has been allocated to fund the expansion of Franklin Early Childhood School. The school has both long day care and pre school facilities. $2 million will be allocated in 2019/20 with the bulk of the funds $24 million allocated to 2020/21.