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Queensland doing well on early learning but more needed

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A new report has found young children in Queensland are participating in quality early learning at levels higher than the national average from birth through to five years old.

The report, which tracks the progress of early learning in Australia, also shows the proportion of Queensland’s early learning centres that meet the National Quality Standard (NQS), a national benchmark for early childhood education and care, are above the national average.

Goodstart has had 99% of Queensland centres assessed for quality, with 86% of those assessed meeting or exceeding the NQS (including 93% assessed in 2017). Nationally, Goodstart is outperforming the early learning sector with 85% of assessed centres meeting or exceeding the NQS against an industry average of 74%.

This strong result is part of a commitment to raising the quality of the sector and delivering better outcomes for children and families.

While the news is positive for Queensland the report has urged that more needs to be done for vulnerable children, as the proportion of Queensland children who are vulnerable in social, emotional or cognitive development is still higher than the national average.

The main findings for Queensland are:
  • Extending the access to high-quality early learning programs for three-year-olds in Queensland would help to reduce vulnerability rates further
  • Kindergarten enrolment rates are higher than the national average for all children and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland
  • While developmental vulnerability of Queensland children starting school is higher than the national average, Queensland has had significant improvements since 2008. The proportion of children vulnerable in language and cognitive skills dropped from nearly 16% to 8% in 2015
  • Compared to the national average, fewer educators in Queensland are degree-qualified, and more are Certificate III or IV qualified
Goodstart advocacy manager John Cherry praised the cooperation of federal and state governments in lifting kindergarten participation, but believed more could be done.

“Federal and state government cooperation to fund preschool programs for all children in the year before school has been a remarkable success,” Mr Cherry said.

“Extending that approach to allow all three year olds to attend high quality, play-based early education would ensure some of our most disadvantaged children get the support they need.”

The findings have been released as part of the Early Learning Everyone Benefits campaign. The full report can be downloaded here.
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