SA will introduce 3-year-old preschool with former PM to head up Royal Commission
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SA will introduce 3-year-old preschool with former PM to head up Royal Commission

by Freya Lucas

October 17, 2022

Julia Gillard will lead a Royal Commission into Early Education in South Australia, investigating the best ways for the state to bring forward access to preschool by one year, in line with recent announcements by the eastern states. 


Recommendations from the $2.45 million royal commission are expected to land in August 2023, with the commission the first step in delivering on a major pre-election commitment made by Premier Peter Malinauskas, with his party pledging to give three-year-olds access to kindergarten from 2026, backed by a Royal Commission to look into how to do it and how much it would cost. 


Prior to becoming the Prime Minister in 2010, Ms Gillard spent three years as the federal education minister, and since leaving politics was appointed Chair of the Global Partnership for Education.


In accepting the appointment to lead the Royal Commission, she pledged to bring “a very inclusive style” about the best path forward in implementing Universal Access to preschool for three and four-year-old children. 


Along with public hearings, her commission will include round tables, surveys and virtual parenting forums.


Ultimately, Ms Gillard anticipates the outcome of the commission will be “an implementation road map”. 


“When we talk about the future of this state, it will really be defined by investments in our children.”


In making the announcement, Mr Malinauskas said his government promised to make “one of the most comprehensive reforms in a generation to South Australia’s education system in the area of early childhood education,” adding an additional $450,000 to extend the total budget to $2.45 million.


“All of the international research tells us that there are no more important years than their early years,” he said.


“If you can make the appropriate investments in the early years, you can set up a child for life.”


Recommendations from the report, which he said “will be a far quicker royal commission than those which have preceded it” are due by 31 August, 2023, with a preliminary report to be presented in April, a time frame which Ms Gillard said was “ambitious” but was one that she would endeavour to meet. 


Watch the live announcement of Ms Gillard’s appointment here

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