Early Years Management receive welcome boost in Victorian 2021/22 Budget
Early Years Management (EYM) organisations across Victoria will receive a boost in funding to help support the delivery of services across their community kindergarten networks thanks to a commitment in the Victorian 2021/22 Budget.
Around $31.2 million of additional support has been allocated to the sub-sector which includes organisations like ECMS, bestchance, TRY Children’s Services and more recently YMCA Ballarat who assumed control of 36 kindergartens operated by bestchance in early 2020.
The funding will support improving service viability, access and quality as well as supporting providers to meet the increased demand for services created by the Victorian Government’s flagship three year old kindergarten program which is expected to be rolled out to every community by 2022.
Notably in this year’s Budget $32.4 million was allocated to early childhood teacher (ECT) attraction and retention initiatives designed to support increases in the supply of ECTs that will be needed as the three year old kindergarten program rolls out.
“We promised to deliver three-year-old kinder for every child, and with this Budget – we’re delivering it,” Ingrid Stitt, Minister for Early Childhood said,
“This investment means the next generation of young Victorians will have an extra year of learning, playing and making friends.”
The 2021/22 Victorian Budget contains the following key allocations to early childhood education and care (ECEC):
- Ready for school: Kinder for every three-year-old – Around $167.1 million of additional funds, including $32.4 million for ECT attraction and retention measures and $44.8 million to establish on site school kindergartens.
- Additional support for Early Years Management – Funding is provided to increase support for early years management services to the tune of $31.2 million over four years. Funding is also provided to meet projected demand for kindergarten services to access these arrangements.
- Additional funding for Child Link platform – Funding of $91.6 million over four years has built on a starter commitment in last year’s budget to more meaningfully progress the establishment of the Child Link register. The register will provide factual information about a child to authorised users to enable information sharing and promote child wellbeing and safety outcomes.
- Continuation of early childhood language program – $2.7 million in funding is provided to continue the early childhood language program. This includes grants to kindergartens to support delivery of language programs, along with further professional support and training.
- Giving vulnerable and disadvantaged kids the best start in life – $33.8 million in funding is provided to deliver tailored support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children to participate in early childhood education and care through a range of initiatives including the Access to Early Learning program, Kindergarten Improvement Adviser networks and kindergarten programs at the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute.
- Kindergarten enrolment-based funding – $19.5 million has been allocated to support kindergartens to meet the increased levels of kindergarten enrolments in the coming years. This will be provided in addition to the EYM funding detailed above.
- Maintaining universal access to 15 hours of four-year-old kindergarten – An additional $16.2 million over two years has been pledged to support the ongoing delivery of universal access to kindergarten in the year before school, a commitment broadly similar to last year.
And finally around $39.3 million over four years has been allocated to Marrung (Koorie Intiaves Package) to improve the educational outcomes of Koorie students in Victoria. This includes funding to continue the Koorie Literacy and Numeracy program, expand the Koorie Pre-School Assistants program to four new locations, and continue the Koorie Families as First Educators and Koorie Engagement Support Officer programs.