The report provides a compelling blueprint on how Governments can reverse the decline in Australia’s international standing on educational outcomes while also boosting long term economic growth, social quality and public health.
“This report should be item number one on the COAG agenda and all Governments should agree on a way forward that gives every Australian child the best possible start in life,” Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said.
“OECD research shows that increasing the proportion of children who attend early learning from an earlier age can improve later literacy and numeracy results in school.
“The report shows that Australia’s participation of three and four year olds in early childhood education is below the average of leading OECD countries and that this is a contributing factor in Australia’s lagging school results.
“As a nation we can do better. We can build on the substantial progress made in early childhood education and care over the next decade and make the changes needed to improve children’s participation in early learning.
“The first step needs to be securing sustainable funding for preschool programs for children in the year before school and addressing barriers to participation for disadvantaged children.
“Then the next step needs to be ensuring all Australian children are able to participate in a second year of quality early childhood education starting at age three, as occurs in most OECD countries.
“Addressing challenges for the sector in attracting, retaining and developing a quality, qualified workforce needs to be higher on the agenda of Governments and the sector.
“This report clearly shows the difference two years of quality early childhood education can make to a child’s life and education, and how far behind leading economies Australia is in delivering that.
“Early childhood needs to be a top priority for all Australian Governments, starting from next week’s COAG meeting,” Ms Davison said.