MORE CHILDREN ATTENDING 600 HOURS OF PRESCHOOL IN THE REGION

Friday, 2 February 2018

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed news that the number of children in NSW undertaking 600 hours of preschool has increased by 40 per cent in the last 12 months following the introduction of the NSW Government’s Start Strong program.

Mr Marshall said it was wonderful news that more children in the state were participating in early childhood education, including at preschools right across the Northern Tablelands.

“These results prove the government’s Start Strong program is working – it is reducing fees, improving quality and strengthening the early childhood workforce for families in our region,” Mr Marshall said.

“Ongoing fee reductions are significantly reducing financial burdens on hardworking families and I am proud the government is focusing on this.”

The pleasing statistics were revealed as part of the 2017 Preschool Census – the first since the implementation of the Start Strong reforms, with 737 community preschools across the state taking part.

Following the significant changes to the preschool funding policy under Start Strong, Mr Marshall said the census was the first real test of whether the policy changes had achieved their objectives.

“Of all children aged four and above in the Preschool Census, 91 per cent are now enrolled for more than 600 hours of early childhood education,” he said. “This is a significant increase from 66 per cent in 2016-17.

“Not only has Start Strong significantly reduced daily fees by an average of 25 per cent, we now have more children participating in early childhood than ever before.”

More information on the NSW Government’s Start Strong program can be found at www.education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education/operating-an-early-childhood-education-service/grants-and-funded-programs/start-strong

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