Highlights of Victoria’s 2024 policy and kindergarten funding announcement
Approved providers in Victoria were sent a letter from the Victorian Department of Education (DE) regarding 2024 Kindergarten Policy and Funding information.
The Early Learning Association of Australia (ELAA) prepared a list of some of the highlights from the information sent, an extract of which appears below.
Kindergarten Funding Guide
For key funding and policy parameters that will assist providers to continue to deliver Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in 2023 and support planning for 2024, please refer to the Kindergarten Funding Guide.
Local area Early Childhood Improvement Branches (ECIB) are available to work with providers. Information about how to contact the ECIB can be found here. ECIBs can work with services on any issues facing the service and plan and develop tailored solutions to support delivery of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten programs.
Transitional statewide flexible hours continue in 2024
Flexible hours were introduced statewide this year, allowing providers to determine how many hours — between 5 and 15 per week — of funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten they offer, within set parameters. This transitional arrangement will continue in 2024 and will be reviewed ahead of 2025 service delivery.
For Three-Year Old Kindergarten in 2024, this means that:
- Services should not increase their Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program hours beyond what was offered in 2023, if this would result in the number of 2024 Three or Four-Year-Old Kindergarten enrolments offered across the service being lower than the number of enrolments in 2023. The Department will not fund an increase in hours in this circumstance
- Exceptions can be granted, subject to sufficient capacity to accommodate children being available in 2024 at other local services. Services who are interested in exemptions should discuss this with their local ECIB. More information about exceptions is available here.
- If services are offering more than the 2023 Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program hours does not reduce the number of enrolments in both Three-Year-Old and Four-Year-Old programs, services do not need Departmental approval to increase their hours.
Early Start Kindergarten
Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) will continue to be available for eligible children in 2024, providing 15 hours of funded kindergarten each week for two years before school.
It is important that providers ensure that children eligible for ESK are enrolled for the full 15 hours of funded kindergarten as an ESK enrolment. Children accessing ESK can be enrolled in a Three-Year-Old group, a Four-Year-Old group, a mixed-age group, or a combination of groups to access 15 hours of kindergarten.
Further information on funding and policies supporting Three-Year-Old Kindergarten can be found here.
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