$15.9 million for preschools in the NT
- Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth
Joint Media Release with Mr Paul Henderson, MLA, NT Minister for Education
The Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth Kate Ellis today announced $15.9 million to help build a world-class early childhood education system in the Northern Territory.
This significant investment will boost the number of preschool hours that eligible NT children will receive in the coming years.
“Early childhood education is the foundation of the Government’s education revolution,” Ms Ellis said.
“We know that the quality of learning experiences during the early years of a child’s life set the stage for all future learning and development. And that is why we are making this major funding commitment.”
Ms Ellis said each state and territory has a different starting point, so will take different approaches to improving early childhood education, such as boosting the number of places, increasing the number of hours or reducing cost.
The NT Minister for Education, Paul Henderson, said the agreement provided a great opportunity for the Territory to expand its Closing the Gap initiatives.
“Preschool and early education programs give kids a great start in life,” Mr Henderson said.
“By 2013 every four year old child, no matter where they live, will have access to a quality early childhood education program.
“Under this partnership with the Australian Government children will have access to15 hours of pre-school per week.
“We are committed to improving attendance and literacy and numeracy outcomes and these programs will help children and families to be ready for schooling.”
Mr Henderson said the Northern Territory Government was committed to achieving real and improved outcomes throughout the early years of schooling across the community.
“We will also work to significantly increase the proportion of preschool teachers with four year university qualifications in early childhood education by 2013.”
The funding follows an agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to implement the Council of Australian Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education.
The National Partnership supports the Government’s election commitment that by mid-2013, in the year before they start school all children will have access to 15 hours a week of quality early childhood education for 40 weeks a year, to be delivered by a university-trained early childhood teacher.
“The national partnership will help make preschool services more affordable and accessible for families,” Ms Ellis said.
“The Rudd Government has committed $970 million over five years to early childhood education through the national partnership. Of this major investment, $955 million will go directly to the states and territories to achieve universal access to early childhood education.”
The Rudd Government’s Universal Access initiative will also be supported by a range of early childhood reforms, including the implementation of the Early Years Learning Framework, which began in July 2009. This framework provides guidance to parents and early childhood educators to support early learning.
The Government has also committed $126.6 million nationally over four years to support the training and retention of more, better qualified early childhood professionals.
“Governments across Australia are working together to create a world-class early childhood education system, so that our children can have the best possible start in life,” Ms Ellis said.