Goodstart Early Learning, a not for profit that provides preschool programs for more than 20,000 children at 700 centres across Australia, has been calling for a long term funding commitment for preschool for many years to provide certainty for families and providers.
Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said the Budget commitment offered a new era in preschool provision with Federal funding focused on achieving better outcomes for children.
“The Federal Government will offer the States four years of funding for preschool programs but with more emphasis outcomes for children,” she said.
“From 2023, funding will have to follow the child whether their preschool program is in a State school, a long day care centre or a preschool. That is great news for the 80,000 children in preschool programs around Australia who do not currently get the full benefit of Federal preschool funding because the States do not pass it on in full.
“From 2024, funding will be tied to attendance measures which will hopefully see more investment to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children to attend preschool programs as the evidence shows these children are the least likely to attend but benefit the most.
“We look forward to working with the Government, other sector partners and early years experts to develop and trial a suitable child outcomes measure with $33 million allocated to building a performance framework in the lead up to 2025.
“The evidence shows that access to preschool strongly supports children’s later educational and life outcomes, provided it is high quality.
“A well designed performance framework will hopefully direct funding to raising quality of preschool programs which will benefit all Australia’s children.
“We are a long way from having such a performance framework in place, but Goodstart looks forward to working with both levels of Government to develop such a framework.
“Long term preschool funding with an emphasis on supporting the child is an important reform with the potential to significantly advance the nation’s educational outcomes,” she said.