ACT could be the first to legally enshrine 2 years of early learning
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > ACT could be first in Australia to legally enshrine two years of ECEC before school

ACT could be first in Australia to legally enshrine two years of ECEC before school

by Freya Lucas

October 27, 2023

The Australian Capital Territory could be the first Australian jurisdiction to legally enshrine access to two years of early childhood education and care (ECEC) before formal schooling.


ACT Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Yvette Berry, introduced the Education (Early Childhood) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to parliament yesterday, seeking to amend the Education Act 2004 to include a new chapter in the Act dedicated to early childhood education and recognition in law that children start learning from birth. 


As well as acknowledging the importance of professional registration of early childhood teachers through an amendment to the ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010. Currently, the Teacher Quality Institute regulates the professional registration of teachers in primary and secondary schools, but not early childhood teachers.


The Bill will introduce a new category of Teacher Quality Institute registration for teachers working in early childhood education and care settings who teach children from birth to age five years, “because a teacher is a teacher, whether they work in an early childhood service or a school”. 


Should the Bill pass, it will deliver on significant actions in the ACT Government’s early childhood strategy, Set up for Success, and its early childhood workforce strategy, Valuing Educators, Values Children.


“Early childhood teachers are at the heart of what makes early learning great,” Ms Berry said.


“Formally recognising early childhood education in law and providing professional recognition for early childhood teachers will strengthen the sector.”


“These amendments go hand-in-hand with the ACT Government’s delivery of universal free, high-quality preschool education for Canberra’s three-year-olds from 2024.”


For more information on the ACT Workforce Strategy, please see here

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