South Australia commits to new “Office for the Early Years” in 2021/22 Budget
The South Australian Government has released its 2021/22 Budget in which it made a broad and significant commitment to the early years with a range of new initiatives including the creation of an Office for the Early Years to lead the universal early years system as part of a broader Early Learning Strategy.
South Australian Minister for Education John Gardner said the Early Learning Strategy, backed by practical knowledge and sector expertise, strong research, and vital input from the community, will inform how the Government can create conditions for change and improvement.
A total of $50.1 million will be spent over four years on the following key programs:
- Establish a new Office for the Early Years within the department to lead the universal early years system, with a mandate to increase the proportion of children developmentally on track when starting school.
- Establish a network of educators to mentor playgroup facilitators in partnership with Playgroup SA and develop consistent, evidence-based resources for playgroup facilitators.
- Strengthen the use of Australian Early Development Census data to identify and build partnerships with local government and non-government service providers to inform local service coordination to meet the specific development needs of children.
- Review and revise guidance on culturally responsive approaches to preschool teaching and learning.
- Complete the upgrading of internal ICT cabling in all government preschools as part of the government’s Digital Foundations initiative.
The funding total of $50.1 million will see $35.1 million spent on an enhanced program of child development checks, $14.1 million for programs and resources within the Department for Education, including the new Office for the Early Years, and $0.9 million on grant related funding.
“Learning begins well before a child starts preschool, but not every student is starting their learning journey on the same base,” Minister Gardner said.
These policies are the “launch pad for improving development outcomes for all children. Importantly, it allows for flexibility and growth as the strategy progresses through its 10-year life to move with the needs of an ever-changing community.”
To read this year’s budget please click here.