Preschool access improved

Education preparation: A new funding agreement will support more children in the year before they start school.
Education preparation: A new funding agreement will support more children in the year before they start school.

Families with young children in NSW will have better access to high quality preschool and early childhood education due to an historic agreement between the federal and state governments.

The new National Preschool Reform Agreement ensures every child will receive high quality education in the year before school, regardless of where they live or their background.

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert said the agreement ensures children in NSW have access to quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.

"This funding agreement provides certainty to parents, educators and the sector throughout New South Wales," he said.

"It will help every child in NSW - about 400,000 children over four years have the opportunity to attend at least 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before they start school."

The Commonwealth Government has committed $560 million of new funding with more than $280 million from the NSW Government to support the four year funding deal.

The NSW Government will also increase the quality of preschool and long day care education by delivering targeted programs for children who experience disadvantage.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the move would increase workforce participation rates.

"This is a game changing deal for families in NSW, providing parents and carers the freedom to participate in the workforce in ways that better suit their needs," he said.

Funding will be linked to reforms to increase preschool participation rates and improve outcomes, benefiting all children regardless of the type of preschool they attend.

In NSW increased funding to long day care will also enable greater focus on quality and support for children's transition to school.

There will also be an increased focus on engagement of children and families, particularly from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them have a happy, safe and supported preschool experience and a stronger start in life.

NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the new funding deal would provide stability to the sector and provide more access to early childhood education for young children.

"Every child deserves the best start in life, and this reform means more children will have access to a quality preschool education right across NSW," she said.

"This agreement builds on our commitment to support young families through our free preschool program, which we know has made a positive impact across NSW.

"By boosting funding for long day care services to provide high quality preschool programs, families will get more flexibility and choice when it comes to early education for their child."

The historic signing means the Preschool Reform Agreement 2022-2025 is now a National Partnership and the Commonwealth welcomes other states signing on ahead of the 2022 preschool year.

The Commonwealth has guaranteed ongoing funding for preschools and this four-year agreement provides long term certainty to around 300,000 Australian children and their families each year, along with the early childhood education sector.

The Commonwealth's historic investment in early childhood education also includes around $10 billion a year through the child care system to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families using child care and improve workforce participation.

This story Preschool access improved first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.