ACT Catholic early learning centres consider shuffle of enrolment hours from 2022
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ACT Catholic early learning centres consider shuffle of enrolment hours from 2022

by Freya Lucas

May 12, 2021

From 2022, the eight early learning facilities operated by the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese in the Australian Capital Territory will only offer children care from either 8am to 5.30pm or from 9am to 3pm, with parents “locked into” arrangements for the whole year regardless if their circumstances change, local news source The Canberra Times has reported. 


The measure, the Times wrote, may have an impact on working families who increase or reduce their hours, or who need flexibility in their hours of care due to fluctuations in demand for their services. 


Prior to the changes announced for 2022, the centres were open from 7:30 am to 6pm, with parents having the option to elect to have care only during school hours, or to add before and after school care on top. 


A further change will see parents needing to select either 40 weeks of part-time care or 48 weeks of full time care, with no option to change times or the amount of days should a family’s circumstance change.


Currently, parents have the option to change from five days a week to five days a fortnight, or to increase or decrease the amount of hours their child is enrolled in, depending on the time of the year, the Times reported. 


The enrolment period for Catholic preschools in the ACT for 2022 started at the beginning of May, at which time parents at some of the affected services were informed of the change. 


In responding to the concerns, Principal of Mother Theresa Preschool in Harrison, Peter Hughes, said that he was aware of discussions taking place amongst the parent community, and that more information would be announced in the coming days. 


“For the last two years, the Catholic Education Office has been working with a group of industry experts from Wollongong University to examine all eight Catholic early learning centres to make them more sustainable going forward,” Mr Hughes said. 


Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese Director of Catholic Education Ross Fox confirmed this, saying different models for enrolments had been considered “for some time” to enable growth at the centres.


“Information regarding our service offering from 2022 will be provided to families as soon as possible to support enrolment activities,” Mr Fox said.


“We know how valued our early learning centres are and we will continue to focus on supporting families in the transition of their children into our kindergartens.”


Enrolments for Catholic preschools in the ACT are set to close on May 28.


To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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