National Preschool Reform Agreement secures $840m in preschool funding for NSW
An historic agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments has secured $840 million in funding to support families with young children in New South Wales to have better access to high-quality pre-school and early childhood education.
The new National Preschool Reform Agreement, with NSW as its first signatory, ensures every child will receive high-quality education in the year before school, regardless of where they live or their background.
First signaled in the 2021 Budget, the agreement delivers on a commitment made by the Federal Government to provide $1.6 billion over four years from 2021-22 to make an ongoing Commonwealth funding contribution to preschool.
The first four years of funding will be delivered through a new funding agreement to be negotiated with the states and territories, of which NSW is the first. The new agreement will support access to at least 15 hours of preschool each week (600 hours per year) for children in the year before school for a period of four years.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said the agreement will ensure children in NSW have access to quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.
“This funding agreement provides certainty to parents, educators and the sector throughout New South Wales,” Minister Robert said.
He anticipates the agreement will support around 400,000 children over four years to have the opportunity to attend at least 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before they start school.
The Commonwealth Government has committed $560 million of new funding with more than $280 million from the NSW Government to support the four year funding deal.
The NSW Government will also increase the quality of preschool and long day care education by delivering targeted programs for children who experience disadvantage, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean shared.
“Our most important economic asset is our people and there is no better way to ensure a prosperous future than to make sure everyone has the best possible education and start to life,” he added.
“We want every child in NSW to have the best start in life and every family the support they need to fully participate in the workforce. Investing in our people, our families and our kids will help us grow today’s economy by increasing workforce participation rates and it will help our future prosperity by giving our kids the best possible start in life.”
He described the agreement as “a game changing deal” for families in NSW, providing parents and carers the freedom to participate in the workforce in ways that better suit their needs.
Funding will be linked to reforms to increase preschool participation rates and improve outcomes, benefiting all children regardless of the type of preschool they attend.
In NSW increased funding to long day care will also allow a greater focus on quality and support for children’s transition to school.
There will also be an increased focus on engagement of children and families, particularly from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them have a happy, safe and supported preschool experience and a stronger start in life.
“This agreement builds on our commitment to support young families through our free preschool program, which we know has made a positive impact across New South Wales,” said NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell.
“By boosting funding for long day care services to provide high-quality preschool programs, families will get more flexibility and choice when it comes to early education for their child.”
The historic signing means the Preschool Reform Agreement 2022-2025 is now a National Partnership and the Commonwealth welcomes other states signing on ahead of the 2022 preschool year.
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