The Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory governments have signed a preschool funding agreement that will benefit up to 25,000 ACT children in the year before school over the next four years.
The Preschool Reform Agreement confirms up to $40 million of Commonwealth funding for preschool in the ACT from 2022 to 2025.
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said the agreement will ensure ACT children have access to high-quality preschool options and are better prepared for their first year of school.
‘This agreement will mean every child in the ACT has the opportunity to attend at least 15 hours of preschool a week in the year before they start school,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Importantly, this funding is linked to new reforms, including improving preschool participation and developing an outcomes measure, and will benefit all children, regardless of the type of preschool they attend.’
ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development Yvette Berry said the agreement would provide funding certainty to parents, educators and the sector.
‘Well established research has shown that the early years of a child’s life, including preschool, set the foundation for every child’s social, physical, emotional and cognitive development,’ Minister Berry said.
‘High quality early childhood education plays a critical role in supporting children to learn. For children experiencing vulnerabilities or disadvantage, this early education plays an even more significant role in tackling inequality.
‘This agreement maintains Commonwealth funding for ACT Preschools and, importantly, will ensure all ACT children and their families are supported during these significant years.’
In 2022, the ACT Education Directorate will be working closely with government and non-government preschools to design how these reforms will be implemented locally over the life of the agreement.
This four-year agreement provides long term certainty to more than 300,000 Australian children and their families each year, along with the early childhood education sector.
New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory also signed the Preschool Reform Agreement in December.
The Commonwealth is continuing to work with the remaining states to ensure they can have an agreement in place, and funding certainty, ahead of the 2022 preschool year.
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 to improve workforce participation.