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Report on Government Services 2019

Part B, Chapter 3

Early childhood education and care

This chapter reports on the performance of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, which comprise child care and preschool services.

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  • Key Facts
  • Indicator Framework
  • Indicator Results
  • Indigenous Data

In 2018, 1 283 285 (or 31.4 per cent) of children aged 0–12 years, attended Australian Government Child Care Benefit approved child care services, an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2017.

In 2017, 528 367 children were enrolled in a preschool program. Of children aged in the state-specific year before full time schooling, 295 826 children (or 90.1 per cent) were enrolled in a preschool program. Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged in the state-specific year before full time schooling, 94.8 per cent were enrolled in a preschool program.

At 30 June 2018, 77.9 per cent of National Quality Framework approved services with a quality rating were rated as Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard (including Excellent) — up from 73.4 per cent at 30 June 2017.

Total Australian, State and Territory real government recurrent and capital expenditure on early childhood education and care services was $9.2 billion in 2017‑18, compared with $9.5 billion in 2016‑17.

Early childhood education and care services aim to meet the education, care and development needs of children, and meet the needs of families including enabling increased workforce participation, by providing universal access to early childhood education services for eligible children and accessible child care services that:

  • are high quality, affordable, flexible and can be implemented across a range of settings
  • are delivered in a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment
  • target improved access for, and participation by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Governments aim for ECEC services to meet these objectives in an equitable and efficient manner.

The performance indicator framework provides information on equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and distinguishes the outputs and outcomes of ECEC services. The performance indicator framework shows which data are complete and comparable in the 2019 Report.

Indicator framework

An overview of the Early childhood education and care (ECEC) performance indicator results are presented. Information to assist the interpretation of these data can be found in the indicator interpretation boxes in the ECEC chapter and attachment tables.

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Equity — Access indicators

ECEC participation by special needs group

Children using child care, by special needs group — Proportion of children aged 0–12 years attending Australian Government Child Care Benefit (CCB) approved child care services who are from targeted special needs groups, compared with the representation of these groups in the community (per cent).

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child care 2018 2.9 0.9 4.1 2.4 1.6 5.6 1.5 9.8 2.6
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the community 2017 5.4 1.6 8.0 6.3 4.5 10.1 2.7 40.6 5.5
Children from low income families 2018 19.5 21.3 23.1 17.5 17.7 22.8 7.0 10.2 20.2
Children from low income families in the community 2015-16 13.9 18.7 14.4 16.2 15.6 19.6 np 11.0 15.4
Children with disability in child care 2016 4.1 3.0 2.7 2.9 3.8 4.5 2.7 2.8 3.4
Children with disability in the community 2015 7.2 6.6 7.8 5.4 9.6 9.7 6.2 5.5 7.2
Source: Attachment table 3A.12

Preschool program participation, by special needs group — Proportion of children enrolled in a preschool program aged in the Year Before Full time Schooling (YBFS) who are from special needs groups, compared with the representation of children aged 4–5 years in the community (per cent).

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in a preschool program 2017 5.3 1.8 7.7 6.5 5.0 9.2 3.4 34.4 5.3
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the community 2017 5.1 1.5 7.9 6.1 4.4 10.0 2.6 38.0 5.3
Children from regional areas in a preschool program 2017 26.9 23.7 32.9 17.3 22.5 97.9 1.9 59.7 27.2
Children from regional areas in the community 2017 23.5 21.8 33.2 15.7 22.6 98.0 0.2 55.4 25.6
Children from remote areas in a preschool program 2017 0.6 0.1 2.8 6.9 4.0 2.1 .. 40.4 2.3
Children from remote areas in the community 2017 0.5 3.1 6.8 3.7 2.0 .. 44.6 2.4
Disadvantaged children in a preschool program 2017 20.3 15.5 16.0 11.1 24.1 32.8 1.2 26.3 17.3
Disadvantaged children in the community 2017 20.9 15.9 20.2 13.4 25.9 34.3 1.4 29.6 19.0
Source: Attachment table 3A.14

Effectiveness — Access indicators

ECEC participation

Children using child care — Proportion of children who are attending Australian Government CCB approved child care services (children aged 0–12 years), 2018

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 33.1 30.7 34.3 22.8 31.6 28.3 42.7 21.3 31.4
Source: Attachment table 3A.15

Preschool program participation — Proportion of children who are enrolled in a preschool program in the state-specific year before full time schooling, 2017

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 83.3 93.9 89.7 97.8 93.7 100.0 99.4 90.1 90.1
Source: Attachment table 3A.18

Parent costs for ECEC services

Child care service costs — Median weekly cost for 50 hours of Australian Government CCB approved long day care (LDC) and family day care (FDC), 2018

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ LDC 490 490 417 475 458 429 560 450 460
$ FDC 380 400 420 438 364 467 510 475 400
Source: Attachment table 3A.23

Child care costs as a proportion of weekly disposable income — Proportion of weekly disposable income that families with $75 000 gross annual income spend on one child for 30 hours LDC and FDC, after child subsidies, 2018

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% LDC 7.8 7.8 5.8 7.5 6.7 6.0 9.1 6.7 7.2
% FDC 4.8 5.1 4.8 5.3 4.8 6.0 7.1 6.8 5.0
Source: Attachment table 3A.24

Preschool service costs — Median hourly cost of a preschool program (after subsidies), per child enrolled aged 4 and 5 years, 2017

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 3.00 2.78 3.71 2.33 2.69
Source: Attachment table 3A.25

Effectiveness — Appropriateness indicators

Non-standard hours of care in child care services

Proportion of Australian Government CCB approved child care services providing non-standard hours of care, 2018

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 16.5 24.0 53.5 30.3 26.5 14.5 4.1 13.3 27.3
Source: Attachment table 3A.27

Demand for ECEC

Proportion of children aged 0–12 years for whom additional formal child care or preschool services were currently required, 2017

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 8.1 ± 1.4 11.0 ± 1.8 7.9 ± 1.8 9.6 ± 1.8 11.5 ± 2.2 8.6 ± 3.5 12.7 ± 3.4 5.7 ± 2.7 9.3 ± 0.7
Source: Attachment table 3A.28

Effectiveness — Quality indicators

Staff quality in ECEC

Proportion of paid primary contact staff employed by CCB approved child care services with a relevant formal qualification (at or above Certificate level III), or three or more years of relevant experience, 2016

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 81.6 86.5 77.9 79.8 82.8 86.0 73.3 71.1 81.5
Source: Attachment table 3A.30

National Quality Framework (NQF) quality and compliance

Achievement of National Quality Standard (NQS) — Proportion of NQF approved services with a quality rating, whose overall NQS rating is ‘Meeting NQS’, ‘Exceeding NQS’ or ‘Excellent’, 30 June 2018

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 75.5 83.7 81.5 67.6 73.5 79.5 73.1 61.9 77.9
Source: Attachment table 3A.32

Confirmed breaches — Number of confirmed breaches by NQF approved services per 100 NQF approved services, 2017-18

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Rate 144.9 153.9 109.9 109.0 24.4 56.1 187.6 125.7
Source: Attachment table 3A.34

Serious incidents

Serious incidents — Number of serious incidents that have occurred at NQF approved services, per 100 NQF approved services, 2017-18

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
Rate 99.8 84.9 108.3 114.7 89.2 87.5 131.8 78.7 97.9
Source: Attachment table 3A.35

Efficiency — Inputs per output unit indicators

Government recurrent expenditure per child

Recurrent expenditure on ECEC services per child in ECEC, 2017-18

Most recent data for this measure are not comparable but are complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 6 013 6 077 6 402 6 785 7 509 7 263 5 828 11 734 6 362
Source: Attachment table 3A.36

Australian Government recurrent expenditure per child aged 0–12 years attending CCB approved child care, 2017-18

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
$ 5 693 5 648 5 950 5 569 6 285 6 557 5 035 8 676 5 801
Source: Attachment table 3A.38

Outcome indicators

Family work-related needs for child care

Proportion of people aged 15 years or over not in the labour force due to caring for children whose main reason is child care service related, 2018 (per cent)

Most recent data for this measure are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 37.3 ± 6.2 29.8 ± 9.5 43.5 ± 11.6 42.5 ± 13.3 29.4 ± 16.1* 29.2 ± 15.9* 41.0 ± 19.4 52.4 ± 20.0 37.0 ± 5.6
Source: Attachment table 3A.39

Proportion of children with ECEC experience who are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Development Census, 2015

Most recent data for these measures are comparable and complete, subject to caveats
 NSWVicQldWASATasACTNTAust
% 18.0 18.2 22.7 20.3 22.5 20.2 21.2 34.5 19.9
Source: Attachment table 3A.40

Notes

These data and caveats for these data are available in chapter 3 and attachment 3A.

Some percentages reported in these tables include 95 per cent confidence intervals (for example, 80 per cent ± 2.7 per cent).

* Indicates the estimate or proportion has a relative standard error between 25 per cent and 50 per cent and should therefore be used with caution.

.. Not applicable. – Nil or rounded to zero. np Not published.

Performance indicator data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this chapter are available in the attachment tables listed below. Contextual data and further supporting information can be found in the chapter.

Indigenous early childhood education and care data
Table number Table title
Table 3A.12 Proportion of children attending Australian Government CCB approved child care services who are from special needs groups, compared with their representation in the community (per cent)
Table 3A.13 Proportion of children enrolled in a preschool program aged 3–5 years who are from special needs groups, 2017, compared with their representation in the community
Table 3A.14 Proportion of children enrolled in a preschool program aged in the YBFS who are from special needs groups, 2017, compared with their representation of children aged 4–5 years in the community
Table 3A.21 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a preschool program aged in the state-specific YBFS, by remoteness
Table 3A.22 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a preschool program aged in the state-specific YBFS, by weekly hours