Release type: Media Release

Date:

Delivering access to universal early childhood education

Joint Media Release with The Hon Maxine McKew MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard and the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Childcare, Maxine McKew, today announced $10 million of funding to improve access to high quality early childhood education programsover the next year.

This is the first step along the path to delivering the Rudd Government’s commitment to universal access to early childhood education.

The Rudd Government is partnering with state and territory governments to ensure all Australian children have access to an early learning program in the year before formal schooling by 2013.

The Government is investing $533.5 million over the next five years to improve access to affordable early learning programs across Australian, including to Indigenous children living in remote communities.

Within five years, all Australian children will have access to 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year of high quality, play based learning and development programs in the year before school.

These programs are designed and delivered by degree qualified early childhood teachers.

Research shows that disadvantaged children benefit the most from high quality preschool. Currently these are the children most likely to miss out.

Up to 20 per cent of all Australian four year olds do not go to preschool in the year before school, and crucially about half of all Indigenous four year old children miss out.

These projects will inform long term planning in the delivery of universal early childhood education and child care and funding will step up each year prior to 2013.

This funding has been allocated based on the number of Indigenous four year old children in each state and territory and the number of four year olds in the lowest 10 per cent of socio-economic areas in Australia in each state and territory.