ECEC to play core role in newly announced South West Sydney Revitalisation Package
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) will play an important role in the recently announced South West Sydney Revitalisation Package which represents more than $100 million of targeted programs to support student learning and wellbeing needs in the region.
The package combines a $73 million investment through the 2022 COVID Intensive Learning Support Program with an additional $30 million which will be used to fund new learning and wellbeing opportunities.
Focused on supporting students across their learning journeys, from early childhood to post-school, the package will support learners in South West Sydney along with those learners in communities most impacted by COVID-19.
Initiatives will be targeted at what was known as the 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern at the height of Sydney’s COVID-19 pandemic in 2021:
- Georges River
One of the known challenges for communities supported through the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package is the concentration of disadvantage.
- The average Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI) for these schools is 106, compared to a metro average of 86
- 264 in-scope schools have a FOEI greater than 100
- 103 in-scope schools have a FOEI greater than 150.
In combination, the concentrations of disadvantage experienced by many in the South West Sydney region and their experiences of COVID-19 over the past year have resulted in significant learning and wellbeing impacts. The Revitalisation Package recognises the unique needs of these communities and aims to provide support where most needed.
The targeted South West Sydney response has been informed by:
- Student voice
- Consultations with over 220 principals
- Parent sentiment data
- Extensive engagement across the department, and ongoing cross-agency engagement.
Through consultations, the New South Wales Department of Education came to learn that South West Sydney schools, communities and students felt a variety of impacts due to COVID-19, including:
- Reduced engagement at school
- Loss of community connections
- Trauma of COVID experience
- Learning loss
- Loss of transitions
- Difficulty spending funds on learning and wellbeing initiatives in 2021
- Loss of attendance.
The role of early childhood education in recovery
The programs developed in response to the challenges outlined above are focused on supporting students across their entire learning journeys, from early childhood to post-school. A diverse array of initiatives is included in the package, including initiatives focused on early childhood and the early years, namely:
- Transition to School Support Program
- Funding to support partnerships between schools, early childhood education and care services, families, and community and health organisations to build connections for local students transitioning to school.
- ECE Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Strategy
- Establishing a CALD Early Childhood Education Advisory Group to identify solutions to the lower participation rate of CALD students in preschool and early learning in South West Sydney. The Advisory Group will be asked to co-design with the Department and community a CALD Children’s ECE Strategy.
- Department of Communities and Justice Partnership to deliver the Supporting Families into ECE Project
- A partnership between the Department of Education, Department of Communities and Justice and non-government organisations to work with families in accessing and attending early learning.
To learn more about the South West Sydney Revitalisation Package please see here.
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