SA Government implements findings from Royal Commission, releasing report
The South Australian Government has announced “an unprecedented investment of $56 million” to develop and support the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce in response to the findings from its Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care.
A large part of the $56 million will be directed towards scholarships to grow the workforce. Importantly, this investment will see many early childhood workers upskill to become early childhood teachers.
The workforce implementation measures aim to shore up the pool of available educators and teachers to cater for three-year-old preschool and expanded Out of Hours School Care.
“This is an exciting reform that will lead the nation. It builds upon our existing investment into improving government preschool facilities and out of hours care, providing families with greater options and a higher quality of education and care,” SA’s Education Minister Blair Boyer said.
“The urgent task of building the early childhood workforce pipeline will require collaboration with universities, TAFE and other vocational education and training providers,” he added.
“To lead this work, Kim Little has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the newly created Office for Early Childhood Development. Ms Little is a national expert in early childhood, having led the introduction of three-year-old preschool in Victoria.”
“Increasing workforce participation is a key ambition of these reforms, with three-year-old preschool and more families having access to OSHC at the heart of ensuring more parents are able to work.”
All told, the SA Government will reform across eight areas to increase the availability and quality of early childhood services and supports, with greater flexibility for families. Some of these reforms include:
- Investing in Aboriginal children
- From 2024, three-year-old Aboriginal children, as well as children in care, at government-operated preschools will be offered 15 hours of preschool, up from 12 hours.
- Working with Aboriginal communities to co-design and deliver a range of strategies so Aboriginal children receive increased benefits from three-year-old preschool.
- Improving Out of School Hours Care (OSHC)
- Improving access to government OSHC, including for students with disabilities and complex needs
- Modernising OSHC qualification requirements
“Our goal is to strengthen the connection between families and preschool programs, health and support services so fewer South Australian children are starting school developmentally vulnerable,” Mr Boyer explained.
“The Royal Commission told us quality early learning programs can have a significant and lasting impact on children from disadvantaged contexts above the gains observed for other children. We are acting now to improve future outcomes for our most vulnerable children.”
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