Sessional Kinder costs to be reduced in Victoria as State tackles COVID-19 challenge
The Victorian Government will continue to reduce the cost of sessional kindergarten for families and provide kinders with extra cleaning for all of Term 3 as part of a $45 million support package during the coronavirus pandemic, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino announced this morning.
Funding will provide $230 per child for Term Three, which is expected to save parents approximately half the cost of average kindergarten fees, with families only paying $23 a week for sessional kindergarten in Term Three, on average.
Sessional Kindergarten will remain free for those who have a Commonwealth Health Care Card, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or hold a refugee or asylum seeker visa under the existing Kindergarten Fee Subsidy program.
This reduced-fee kinder program will be available for community-based, local government and school providers that are offering funded sessional programs and are not covered by the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program, the Minister said.
A second round of cleaning grants will also be provided to all early childhood services delivering a funded kinder program to boost their cleaning and hygiene, including $900 grants for services with less than 50 enrolments and $1,500 for those with 50 or more enrolments.
Service providers will have flexibility in how to use this funding as long as it is spent on meeting the enhanced cleaning and hygiene required during this pandemic.
This morning’s announcement builds on the free kinder announced by the Victorian Government in Term Two, at a time when many services were experiencing a significant decline in enrolment numbers.
While attendances are now building back to normal levels, the additional support will assist with re-establishing full attendance in Term Three, and will relieve the financial pressures faced by families who have dealt with job losses or income reductions, the Minister said.