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Preschool funding extension gives 300,000 children a great start in life

Government and sector

Today’s announcement of a one year $450 million extension of Federal Government funding for preschool programs in the year before school ensures another 300,000 four year olds will be supported for a great start to learning.

As Australia’s largest non-government provider of preschool and kindergarten programs, Goodstart welcomes this announcement but strongly believes a longer term funding solution is needed.

Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said there was overwhelming evidence that children who attended one or, better still, two years of preschool programs performed better in school later on.

“Children who have access to quality preschool perform 20-30 points higher on NAPLAN Year three literacy and numeracy tests and that benefit lasts right through their education,” she said.

“Children who attend a second year of preschool have been found to have the equivalent of a six month developmental advantage on children who don’t.

“Indeed an independent report released a few days ago called for Government funding of preschool for three year olds to be the next big priority for education reform which we support,” she said.

Ms Davison said the additional funding would reduce the cost of providing preschool programs by around $1200 per funded child but that some States are failing to pass on the full benefit of Federal funding.

“Around half of children receive their preschool education in a long day care centre, but just three of the eight jurisdictions fully pass on Federal funding to support those children – Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

“That needs to change, and we welcome the Minister’s call for a conversation with the States about making preschool funding more effective and would like to see the sector part of the conversation.

“Focus on participation, particularly of the most vulnerable children, needs to be part of that debate. It is noteworthy that the ABS reports that 89% of children enrolled in 600 hour preschool programs in long day care attend for those 600 hours, compared to just 70% of children in standalone preschools,” she said.
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