The NSW Government has made a further announcement on early childhood education. The 2022/23 NSW Budget will set aside more than $5.8 billion over 10 years to introduce universal pre-Kindergarten for all children in NSW by 2030.
The Government’s intent is to introduce a full year of preschool education before children commence Kindergarten. They have committed to consulting with families, peak bodies and service providers to create the best model for this new, universal pre-Kindergarten year for all children in NSW. In announcing the initiative, the Premier, Dominic Perrottet, recognised the importance of preschool in providing a strong educational foundation. The Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, confirmed that it will be “a specialised year of play-based learning”.
CCSA acknowledges the Government’s commitment to long-term planning for, and recognition of the specialised nature of early childhood education. We have many questions about the details and how this program will co-exist with existing early childhood services. CCSA will ensure that our member’s voices will be heard through sector consultation, which will be necessary to develop and implement an effective, co-designed universal pre-Kindergarten year.
Apart from the design and implementation of the actual year itself, CCSA will be focussed on the ongoing sustainability of the sector including investments in workforce and capital works. We will also be working to ensure that other important reforms over the past decade are retained and built on, including extension of preschool education to 3-year-olds, improved outcomes for equity children, particularly First Nations children and children with disability and additional needs, and ensuring that the benefits of the reform extend to children in regional and remote areas.
CCSA will keep members informed as further details on the reform and sector consultation are released.