COVID-19 Free Preschool Funding Program

Guidelines and further details now available

The NSW Department of Education has released guidelines and information on the funding initiative to support community and mobile preschools in NSW for up to six months during the COVID-19 crisis. You can read the guidelines here, and refer to this email from the Department for more information.

CCSA has been advocating for members with NSW Department of Education to implement this initiative and we have participated in the Ministerial reference group advising the Department on the scheme. The scheme is designed to work with JobKeeper and may expand the number of services who may now be eligible for that scheme.

The key conditions for eligibility for services is that you must:

  • enrol in the JobKeeper program in the first instance (if you are eligible)
  • remain open and available (unless on public health advice)
  • provide at least 15 hours of free preschool to families
  • retain staff where possible
  • prioritise access for children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and existing enrolments
  • provide suitable outreach (or distance education) to children who are enrolled but not physically attending
  • complete the opt-in enrolment process through SmartyGrant (to be available soon).

Under the NSW program, the maximum additional State funding services will be eligible for will be 100% of your half year fee income, and the minimum additional funding will be 80% of their half year fee income, both based on data you provided in the August 2019 Census (with a 2% indexation rate applied).

Any amount of the State funding will will be reduced by the amount of JobKeeper that services receive. Where services do not meet the 30% downturn and are ineligible for JobKeeper the full Department of Education funding under that scheme will be applied.

Steps to take now

To check your eligibility and prepare to opt-in, you should:

  • reassess your eligibility for JobKeeper
  • apply for JobKeeper if the downturn threshold is met
    • go to our JobKeeper webpage for information and links, and to watch our JobKeeper webinar
    • seek the advice of your accountant
  • read through the guidelines carefully
  • re-visit your census figures from August 2019
  • plan for re-opening in Term 2
  • plan for providing distance education from Term 2
  • look out for advice from the Department when the SmartyGrants enrolment is open.

Free Preschool Funding Webinars

We will be presenting webinars focusing on the program guidelines and it’s interaction with JobKeeper on:

  • Tuesday 28 April 10.30am – 11.45am
  • Thursday 30 April 1.30pm – 2.45pm

You will be advised when registrations are open.

Member Support

Our Member Support team is currently receiving a high volume of calls. We are answering these as soon as possible, and during this period we will be responding to written inquires by phone. Thank you for your patience.

We encourage you to refer to our COVID-19 webpages for general COVID-19 information, resources and links. These pages are being added-to and updated on an ongoing basis.