Three-year-old kindergarten expansion update regarding Priority of Access in Vic
Clarification around Priority of Access (PoA) criteria for preschool aged children in Victoria has been communicated by the Early Learning Association of Australia (ELAA) in a recent newsletter.
PoA requires funded kindergarten services to prioritise specified cohorts of children where there is a higher demand for enrolments than there are places available, helping to ensure that children who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or who have a disability are supported to access a kindergarten place.
PoA is a condition of all Three and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten funding. It must be applied to enrolments in eligible services. To ensure equity for both three and four-year-old children with the introduction of universally funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in Victoria, the PoA criteria includes:
- services with separate three and four-year-old groups will be required to apply the PoA policy to each age cohort separately; and,
- in mixed-age groups, three and four-year-old children considered vulnerable under the policy are equally prioritised.
- children who are eligible for ESK funding continue to have PoA to a place in a 15-hour-a-week kindergarten program, regardless of where they live
- providers that have services in the 2020 and 2021 roll-out LGAs should continue to prioritise access to children residing in those LGAs before applications from families outside the LGA are considered.
- once all PoA children have been accommodated, local criteria can be applied to prioritise children such as those enrolled from a previous year, those with a sibling in the service and/or those living closest to the service.
For more information about PoA and other key funding and policy parameters that will assist in delivering this important reform please refer to the DET Funding and Policy letter forwarded to services at the end of April or contact a local Early Childhood Improvement Branch.