House Standing Committee tables report championing early years for remote places

by Freya Lucas

November 12, 2020

The House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training tabled the report of its inquiry into the education of students in remote and complex environments yesterday, making three recommendations about early childhood education and care (ECEC).  

 

Committee Chair, Mr Andrew Laming MP, said the inquiry examined how education meets the learning needs of students in regional, rural and remote communities, and how barriers to education can be overcome, in a way which was mindful of the “significant work” being undertaken to address the issues outlined in the report. 

 

While noting the government accepted the findings of both the Halsey (2018) and Napthine (2019) education reviews, the committee has recommended that implementation plans be provided to show how the government is progressing the recommendations and actions proposed by these reviews, Mr Laming said.

 

Of the 14 total recommendations made by the committee, three relate specifically to ECEC: 

 

  • Improve access to quality early childhood education and care in regional, rural and remote communities
  • Provide up to 30 hours per week of subsidised early education and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • Support early learning programs provided through distance education, and provide greater flexibility and surety in funding for mobile early childhood education services, and wrap-around models of early intervention, family support, early childhood education and health care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

 

The other recommendations include measures designed to: 

 

  • Ensure all Australian students can access secondary school education, to a nationally-consistent minimum standard, regardless of their geographic location
  • Provide greater opportunities for families and communities to have more say in how schools apply the Australian Curriculum
  • Ensure that the education available to children and young people with disability in regional, rural and remote locations is inclusive

 

  • Improve access to mental health treatment and support in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Provide adult literacy campaigns in communities with low levels of adult English literacy
  • Improve access to English as an Additional Language or Dialect support and bilingual education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

 

  • Support the development and professionalisation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education workforce
  • Establish trauma-informed, cultural induction and training programs for educators working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and
  • Enhance the integration of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education sectors.

 

The full report can be accessed through the inquiry website, here.

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