Researcher awarded $399,000 to explore inequalities in participation in high-quality ECE

by Freya Lucas

July 11

A project designed to explore inequalities in children’s participation in high-quality early childhood education (ECE) is one of eight projects from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) which has been successful in jointly securing $3.3 million in the latest round of the Australian Research Council’s ARC Linkage Project scheme. 


Announced a week ago by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, the eight projects have a range of intended research outcomes, and include projects designed to reduce stress among emergency services staff, improve communication in courtrooms for non-English speakers, increase equality in ECE and enhance the way Australian conservation agencies implement fires.


Dr Jennifer Skattebol, from UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre, is the lead researcher on a project awarded $399,000 that will investigate engagement in ECE. It will look at the inequalities in children’s participation in high-quality early childhood education.


Dr Skattebol said high-quality early childhood education and care can support children from disadvantaged backgrounds have better school and health outcomes, but many of the children who can benefit the most are missing out.


“This research begins with an exploration of the everyday lives of families most disadvantaged by the current system and documents families’ assets and challenges. It will then explore how exemplary services best respond to the resources and circumstances of these children. A strong Indigenous focus will contribute to researcher training and knowledge.”


Professor Nicholas Fisk, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, congratulated the University’s researchers for successfully receiving funding for their projects that will tackle a multitude of community and environmental issues.


“This funding will support our highly talented academics in solving, in concert with industry, a diverse range of problems both locally and around the world,” Professor Fisk said.


The projects were part of the Federal Government’s announcement of $28.7 million in total in ARC Linkage Projects funding for 66 projects


The ARC Linkage Project scheme brings together higher education and industry to conduct research into pressing issues affecting Australians. More information about the scheme is available here.