Victoria leading the nation in meeting kinder targets: report
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
Victoria is well on track to meeting national kindergarten targets and is outperforming other Australian states and territories on most measures, according to the latest annual report released today by Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett.
Mr Garrett today released state and territory annual reports for 2010 on the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education during a visit to Top Kids Childcare and Pre-school in Boronia, Melbourne.
“Despite some of the recent comments by members of the Coalition, the fact is that Victoria is among the best positioned of all the states to achieve our important goal of providing access to high quality early childhood education,” Mr Garrett said.
“The Gillard Government is investing $970 million to help provide every Australian four-year-old with 15 hours of kindergarten a week for 40 weeks a year, delivered by a university-trained teacher, by 2013,” Mr Garrett said.
“Nationally, the reports confirm that more Australian children than ever before are accessing preschool or kindergarten, with four in five children enrolled last year and attending for an average of more than 14 hours a week. More than a third of children are already enrolled for 15 hours a week just two years into the five-year rollout of the universal access commitment. ”
“Today’s report, compiled by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood, reveals that by the end of last year Victoria had achieved 99.9 per cent enrolment for four-year-olds, who were attending kinder for an average of 16.1 hours a week.’
“Victoria met or exceeded all of its 2010 targets and is on track to meeting the overall target by June 2013. These results are based on data collected at the end of last year, and since then further work undertaken by individual services, local councils and the Victorian Government means that we can expect to see even greater progress in the next report.”
Mr Garrett said an 18 month review of the National Partnership conducted by the Allen Consulting Group had also found that Victoria was well placed to achieve the universal access goals.
The report found that while Victoria still has some work to do, overall it offers close to the highest number of early childhood education hours in Australia.
“It is pleasing to see that there have been significant gains across the country, but the national challenge remains to reach the children who are missing out entirely or who are not getting enough support in preparing for school.”
“We know that all states face challenges in some form, and we will continue working with them to help them find the best solution that fits their needs. We have provided five years and $210 million to Victoria to help them implement the commitment, as well as allowing a range of flexible models to help them increase kindergarten hours.”
“Given more than 65 per cent of the Commonwealth funding has yet to come, I look forward to the Victoria’s results continuing to build to the 2013 target,” he said.
Other results in the 2010 annual report included:
- Average hours of kindergarten per week increased by 1.5 hours to 16.1 hours a week, well above the 2010 target of 12 hours
- The participation rate for indigenous children is 85.7 per cent, well above the 2010 target of 65 per cent
- Enrolments for disadvantaged students are up from 95.1 per cent to 99.3 per cent
- The average cost to parents per week is $33.71
- The number of university-trained early childhood teachers was 1149, well above the target of 850 by the end of 2010.
Mr Garrett said education ministers had recently agreed to recognise existing three year trained early childhood teachers for the purposes of delivering a kindergarten program under the National Partnership.
“We want Australian children to receive high quality early childhood education and care from qualified workers, helping give our kids the best possible start to education journeys while providing parents with flexibility in their work and family lives,” he said.
“The reports released today show that thanks to record investment and support from the Gillard Government, Australian families are benefiting from high quality early childhood education.”