Teachers in the Fleurieu held back by lack of ECEC
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Professionals on the Fleurieu Peninsula hampered by lack of ECEC options

Professionals on the Fleurieu Peninsula hampered by lack of ECEC options

by Freya Lucas

April 04, 2024

Teachers on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula are being kept from their classrooms – despite well publicised shortages – because they are unable to find care for their own children. 


Local secondary school teacher Harriet Geater-Johnson recently became a parent to young daughter Willow, and had hopes of returning to work, however despite putting Willow’s name on waiting lists as soon as she learned of her pregnancy (which came after 14 years of fertility treatment) she quickly learnt that there were more than 100 families also competing for places in the under twos space, leaving her with limited options to return to work. 


She shared her experience with the ABC, saying “what I’ve drawn (from hearing about the waiting lists from three services in the area) is that I’ve got no chance of getting into any of the existing centres, and so it’s quite a scary situation to be in.”


The Peninsula has traditionally been a popular choice for retirees, however in recent years many young families have made the move to the region, which is under an hour and a half from the Adelaide CBD. 


As a result towns such as Victor Harbor, Goolwa, Middleton and Port Elliot are seeing an increased demand for early childhood education and care (ECEC), as well as housing for those who work in the community. 


Many families are working around the lack of available ECEC options by driving to southern suburbs communities such as Aldinga and Seaford, which are some 30 to 40 minutes from the Peninsula. 


For fellow teacher Paul Bulley, moving to the Peninsula has meant stepping out of the classroom and into a career in retail, which offers the flexible hours needed to manage the needs of a young family.  


When planning to move to the region Mr Bulley said “we never realised we needed to plan two years in advance.” 


He likened the sudden growth in the region to that of the Adelaide Hills community of Mount Barker, where he said “everything has grown too fast, too quickly, and everything struggles.” 


Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, has called on local governments to be part of the solution and “put their hand up” to offer greater support for families. 


To access the original coverage of this story please see here

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