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Goodstart celebrates 10 years

Early learning

A nationwide virtual birthday party marks 10 years of supporting Australia’s children

The country’s biggest birthday party is going online due to COVID-19, but Goodstart Early Learning is still determined to celebrate its 10th birthday today.

The birthday party was to include Goodstart’s 15,000 educators, 70,000 children and 120,000 parents who use Goodstart’s centres each day. Instead, Goodstart’s 665 centres nationwide joined a nationwide virtual morning tea today to celebrate Goodstart achievements in the last ten years.

Goodstart Chief Executive Officer Julia Davison said Goodstart had plenty to celebrate.

“More than 500,000 children have attended Goodstart’s 665 centres across Australia over the past decade and enjoyed access to high quality early learning that set them up to launch into school-based learning and life,” she said.

“As a not for profit social enterprise, Goodstart has been able to re-invest its earnings back into improving both access and quality of early learning while keeping our fee increases below the sector average.

“Goodstart has invested more than $100 million in professional development for our educators, lifting quality of practice so that 95% of centres are now assessed as meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standards compared to just 50% eight years ago.

“Supporting children and families experiencing vulnerable children has always been an essential part of our work and we’ve invested more than $35 million in social inclusion initiatives to support the most vulnerable to access early learning.

“Our centres welcome a higher proportion of children from regional areas, low income families, and those with a disability or at risk of abuse or neglect than there are in the general community,” she said.

Goodstart Chair Paul Robertson said the deal which led to Goodstart taking over the operation of failed corporate giant ABC Learning was internationally significant, representing a rare buy-out of a corporate entity by a charity, and the establishment of one of Australia’s largest social enterprises.

“Four of Australia’s leading charities came together to launch the successful bid to set up Goodstart and the success we have achieved over the past decade is a testament to their foresight,” he said.

“The Goodstart syndicate, comprising Mission Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Benevolent Society and Social Ventures Australia, was inspired by the opportunity to influence the development of hundreds of thousands of Australia’s children by providing access to high quality early learning.

“It was the first time it had been done anywhere in the world, and Australia’s children and families are better off because of it.

“I want to pay tribute to all of our 15,000 educators who put their heart and soul every day into giving children the best possible start in life,” he said.

Did you know?

In 2014, 18 of the world’s leading experts in philanthropy identified the Goodstart deal as one of the most significant ground-breaking philanthropic initiatives world-wide converting a for-profit business into a highly effective social enterprise. (New Philanthropy Capital (2014) “Ten Innovations in Global Philanthropy”)
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard discussed the opportunity that the collapse of ABC learning presented to restructure Australia’s childcare market in her 2014 memoir “My Story”: “No one wishes for a crisis. But as the management saying goes, sometimes a burning platform is what it takes to secure big change... As a result, one of Australia’s largest social ventures operates childcare centres that understand quality and the role of early learning in combating disadvantage.”

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