Great funding commitment
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch has gladly welcomed NSW Labor’s policy commitment to prioritise early childhood education and preschool.
The Union is excited by the recent Labor Party commitment commitment to early childhood education.
NSW Labor has promised to extend funding for early childhood education to every three and four-year-old as part of the single largest investment in early childhood education in NSW history.
This $500 million dollar package is long awaited and well received, with Branch Secretary John Quessy saying “the measures will increase access for children, arrest the drift away from early childhood education by university qualified teachers and give every child the best start possible.”
According to the Labor announcement, the package will be jointly funded with Federal Labor and will make early education and preschooling a priority by:
- Immediately increasing three-year-old funding in community preschools – doubling the Berejiklian Government’s proposed funding for three-year-olds in 2019-20. This will reduce fees and support services. Currently, three-year-olds are only due to receive one quarter of the funding that four-year-olds receive in community preschools.
- Funding three-year-olds in Long Day Care centres for the first time, and then doubling the current funding per three and four-year-olds in Long Day Care centres – allowing providers to reduce fees, increase wages, and improve quality learning outcomes.
- Investing $292 million into a ‘Little Kids Big Futures’ fund – driving a massive increase in early childhood education access and participation across NSW. This fund will support communities with critical service gaps, improve access for disadvantaged students, boost mobile preschool services in rural and remote areas, and invest in Playgroups NSW services as a pathway to preschooling.
- Launching an $18 million ‘Specialist Early Intervention’ trial program – ensuring young children receive the support they need. Increasingly, early education services are crucial to the identification of learning difficulties, disabilities and other health-related issues. This trial program will boost access to allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists for three and four-year-olds in early education.
- Starting a $10 million ‘Early Childhood Education Professional Development’ program – providing support and training for early childhood education teachers and educators.
- Establishing an additional $15 million capital grants fund to address critical service gaps throughout NSW – increasing access and participation through additional and expanded services.
- Boosting funding for assessment and rating experts by $4 million – slashing the current assessment and rating backlog that has led to childhood education providers waiting more than five years between assessment and rating.
The IEU notes the inclusion of funding for the ‘Specialist Early Intervention’ program, as well as recognition of the need for infrastructure to address crucial and critical service gaps.
The Union is also “particularly gratified to see Labor’s commitment to the provision of wages and the creation of a long awaited Ministerial Advisory Panel. The IEUA NSW/ACT will be pleased to participate and be part of this panel as the Union that represents teachers in centres and preschools throughout NSW and the ACT,” said Industrial Officer Verena Heron.
Read the full Union statement here
And Labor’s full policy announcement is available here