NSW 2020-21 Budget sees big jump in spending on ECEC sector
Children from across New South Wales are set to benefit from the 2020-21 NSW Budget, with the State’s Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, sharing that $667.6 million out of a total education budget of $19.9 billion has been earmarked for the ECEC sector, an increase of 27 per cent on last year.
Commenting Ms Mitchell said “We are doing whatever it takes to stay ahead of the pandemic and provide the support our households, businesses and communities need to get back on their own two feet.”
The majority of funding will be used to support Universal Access to quality preschool programs for eligible four year olds in the year before school, regardless of setting, and for eligible three year olds attending preschool programs through a community preschool setting only through the Start Strong program.
In 2020-21, the commitments to ECEC under the Outcome 1: Best start in life for young children are as follows:
- Around $541.6 million to fund the Start Strong program to support preschool education across New South Wales, in both community preschools and long day care centres for all three and four-year-olds in community preschools
- Around $120.0 million to support the extension of the COVID-19 free preschool program for community and mobile preschools through to the end of 2021
- $6.0 million over two years to deliver the Working Towards Quality Support Program in conjunction with the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority
- continuation of capital works funding to support the creation of additional community preschool places.
“We’re laying the foundations and boosting the facilities that our kids need to have the best success in life,” Ms Mitchell said.
With reference to the specific outcome indicators that underwrite the commitment of funds to NSW ECEC, this year the Government confirmed that participation in early childhood education for 600 hours in the year before school increased to 94.5 per cent in 2019 across the state, which was the highest ever result recorded for NSW and on track to achieve the 2022 target of 95 per cent.
The second key performance indicator for the State is the percentage of services rated meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard which has a target of 8o per cent by 2022.
In June 2020 the proportion of services meeting or exceeding the NQS increased to 77.2 per cent and to help ensure the target is met $6.0 million has been allocated to deliver the Working Towards Quality Support Program in conjunction with the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority as noted above.
To read more about Outcome 1: Best start in life for young children commitments please click here.