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4240.0 - Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2011 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2012   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1 This publication contains experimental estimates on children enrolled and attending preschool programs across Australia collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE).


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

2 The collection scope of the National ECEC Collection consists of all service providers delivering a preschool program during the reference period.

3 For long day care (LDC) centres, information was collected from LDC’s that have children enrolled aged 3-6, however only data from those delivering a preschool program were considered in-scope. Programs aimed at children in the year immediately before grade 1 are also considered out of scope for the National ECEC Collection.

4 The National ECEC Collection aims to compile child, teacher and service provider statistics from all service providers delivering an in-scope preschool program. The following statistical entities are in-scope for the collection population:


Service provider

5 A service provider is considered to be in-scope if it was providing a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.

Child

6 All children who at 1 July were between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive), are in-scope of the collection if they were enrolled during the reference period at a preschool program. To be considered as enrolled, the child must have attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or be absent due to illness or extended holiday leave and expected to return.

Worker

7 All paid employees who were working at an in-scope service provider during the reference period are in-scope of the collection. This is includes both contact and non-contact workers, and is irrespective of whether the worker delivered a preschool program during the reference week.

8 All state and territory governments of Australia, as well as the Australian Government, currently collect data on preschool programs. The current data collection governance responsibilities for ECEC within each jurisdiction are outlined below:


Government Department Responsible for ECEC, 2011

JurisdictionGovernment Department


Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
QueenslandDepartment of Education and Training
South AustraliaDepartment for Education and Child Development
Western AustraliaDepartment of Education
TasmaniaDepartment of Education
Northern TerritoryDepartment of Education and Training
Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate


9 In an effort to achieve complete coverage of all ECEC services delivering preschool programs in Australia, ECEC data were sourced from state and territory education departments and compiled together with data from the Australian Government, which collected data on children attending preschool programs in Long Day Care settings. The collection coverage in each state and territory for the 2011 National ECEC Collection is presented in detail in National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat No: 4240.0.55.001).


DATA COMPARABILITY

10 To ensure national comparability, all jurisdictions were required to follow national data standards for the 2011 National ECEC Collection. The ECEC National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) is a set of national data standards which has been established by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in conjunction with the ABS, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and state and territory departments responsible for early childhood education. The ECEC NMDS is designed to support jurisdictions with the collection of ECEC data under the National Information Agreement for Early Childhood Education and Care. Compliance with these standards will ensure ECEC data is consistent and comparable between state and territories. More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW website, <http://meteor.aihw.gov.au>.

11 For the 2011 National ECEC Collection not all jurisdictions were able to directly align their collection methods with these standards, and this is outlined in detail the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (Cat No: 4240.0.55.001). As a result, not all measurement concepts or data items are able to be published for all jurisdictions.

Long Day Care centre data

12 The Australian Government managed Child Care Management System (CCMS) is the only source of information on children enrolled and attending preschool programs in LDC centres for the majority of jurisdictions.

13 Where data on preschool programs in LDCs is also collected by the jurisdiction, an assessment between the CCMS and the jurisdictional LDC data was undertaken to determine which source would be used for publication purposes. Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are the jurisdictions for which LDC data was received from both the jurisdictional collection and CCMS. Based on investigations it has been determined for the 2011 publication that the jurisdictions LDC data would be used for estimation purposes. LDC estimates for all other jurisdictions were sourced from CCMS.

Child Care Management System (CCMS) data issues

14 While the CCMS was not initially designed to collect information about preschool programs in Long Day Care (LDC) centres, the CCMS provides an opportunity to gain such information. From June 2010, enhancements were deployed in the CCMS to capture information on whether a child is attending a preschool program in each LDC, and the hours per week of attendance. Reporting capabilities for this data have been available since 1 September 2010.

15 The CCMS has a high level of accuracy in reporting information on child demographics (such as name, date of birth and address information) and children’s attendance in child care services, as this information contributes to the provision of Child Care Benefit (CCB). However, details on service provider characteristics or information on children’s attendance in preschool programs was subject to a level of service non-response, as the provision of this data by service providers was not mandatory.

16 Based on initial investigations into this data, it was discovered that there was an under-count of services delivering preschool programs and a subsequent under-count of children who attended a preschool program in 2011 within a CCB approved service provider.

17 To address this under-count issue, the ABS developed a Preschool Provider Frame to provide a more comprehensive national picture of the number of known service providers delivering preschool programs in Australia.

18 The two primary purposes for the Preschool Provider Frame were:
    • to determine the coverage of the National ECEC Collection
    • to assist with the supplementation of jurisdictional data with data from the CCMS for 2011.
    19 The project initially focused on improving and confirming the list of LDCs providing preschool programs that could be sourced from the CCMS, to ensure that data were of a sufficient quality to include in the National ECEC Collection. Using the results of the Preschool Provider Frame, imputation was undertaken for a number of LDCs within the CCMS data set to indicate that those LDCs were delivering preschool programs.

    20 This meant that a higher number of LDCs sourced from the CCMS were included in the National ECEC Collection.


    COLLECTION DATE AND REFERENCE PERIOD

    21 The collection date for the National ECEC Collection is the first Friday in August of each year. In 2011, the collection date for all jurisdictions was Friday, 5 August 2011, with a reference period of 1 – 5 August 2011. Some jurisdictions preferred to incorporate a reference period of one or two weeks that included the collection date, to reflect their preschool program delivery model better. Jurisdictional collection dates and reference periods for 2011 are summarised in the table below.


    Jurisdictional Collection Dates and Reference Periods, 2011

    JurisdictionCollection Date Reference Period


    Commonwealth 5 August 20111 - 7 August 2011
    New South Wales 5 August 2011 1 - 12 August 2011(a)
    Victoria 5 August 20111 - 6 August 2011
    Queensland5 August 20111 - 7 August and
    25 July - 5 August 2011(a)(b)
    South Australia5 August 201125 July - 5 August 2011(a)
    Western Australia5 August 201125 July - 5 August 2011(a)
    Tasmania5 August 201125 July - 5 August 2011(a)
    Northern Territory5 August 20111 - 5 August 2011
    Australian Capital Territory 5 August 20111 - 12 August 2011(a)

    (a) Jurisdiction collected data for a fortnightly reference period to reflect their preschool delivery model better.
    (b) Reference period for community-based preschools in Queensland.

    22 For the National ECEC Collection to be comparable across the states and territories, it is necessary for all jurisdictions to have consistent collection dates and overlapping reference periods. The use of the recommended collection date of the first Friday in August also aligns the National ECEC Collection with the census date used for the National Schools Statistics Collection to ensure that children are only counted in one sector of early childhood education.


    AGE REFERENCE DATE

    23 The National ECEC Collection age reference date for aggregate collections is 1 July of the collection year. In 2011, all states and territories that provided aggregate level data collected age at this reference date.

    24 For jurisdictions that provided unit record level (URL) data, where the age of the child could not be directly derived, the age was imputed based on available information.


    PRESCHOOL PROGRAM

    25 An Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is an alternate term for a preschool program. Preschool program terminology differs across states and territories and these differences are summarised in the table below.

    Preschool (Year before full-time schooling)

    JurisdictionProgram name Age entry requirement


    New South WalesPreschool 3 and 4 years old
    VictoriaKindergarten / Preschool 4 by 30 April
    Queensland Kindergarten 4 by 30 June
    South Australia Preschool After 4th birthday
    Western Australia Kindergarten 4 by 30 June
    Tasmania Kindergarten 4 by 1 January
    Northern Territory Preschool 4 by 30 June
    Australia Capital Territory Preschool 4 by 30 April

    26 A preschool program is a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher primarily aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. This is irrespective of the type of institution that provides it or whether it is government funded or privately provided.


    SECTOR OF PRESCHOOL PROVISION

    27 Depending on jurisdictional delivery models, preschool programs may be delivered through government or non-government schools, government or community preschools and for-profit child care providers.

    28 Data in this publication are presented hierarchically, by government or non-government managed and by Long Day Care in accordance with the definition in the 2011 ECEC NMDS, which is as follows:
      • Government managed preschools include Australian, state and local government managed services.
        • Government managed preschools may operate within a variety of settings depending on the jurisdiction, funding models and licensing regulations.
        • Non-government managed preschools include:
          • Community managed, including private not-for-profit services provided or managed by parents, churches or co-operatives
          • Private-for-profit, including for-profit services provided or managed by a company or private individual
          • Independent schools, including non-government schools that are governed, managed and accountable at the level of the individual school
          • Catholic schools including non-government schools which are affiliated with the diocesan Catholic Department of Education
          • Other, including employer sponsored services.
        • Long Day Care with a preschool program.

      29 Where children are enrolled in multiple preschool programs, URL data has been provided and unique child records are able to be identified, this information is presented separately within the tables presenting number of children enrolled and attending preschool programs.

      PRESCHOOL ENROLMENT

      30 A child is considered to be enrolled if they have been offered a place in a preschool program and
      have attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or were absent due to illness or extended holiday leave and are expected to return.


      PRESCHOOL ATTENDANCE

      31 A child is considered to be attending a preschool program if the child has attended at least one hour during the reference period.

      PRESCHOOL PROGRAM FEES

      32 Fees charged are usually based on the number of hours of a preschool program a child is enrolled to receive. Preschool fees are collected differently for URL data and aggregate level data. For URL data, fees are collected at the child level. As this is not possible for aggregate collections, fee per child information is based on a service's schedule of fixed fees, for example a charge of $150 per full term. The fee schedule can differ between programs, organisations and jurisdictions. Fees may be charged daily, weekly, annually, per session or per term. If data is collected at any level other than weekly, the weekly fee is derived from the collected fee and fee schedule.

      HOURS

      33 Information on preschool hours available, enrolled and attended is necessary to evaluate whether children have access to 15 hours of preschool per week and if so, whether they are enrolling and attending the program for those hours. Part of the Universal Access commitment is that by 2013 every child will have access to a preschool program for at least 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year.

      34 Hours data are collected differently for URL data and aggregate level data. For URL data, hours are collected at the child level. As this is not possible for aggregate collections, hours data are collected at the service provider level, and hours per child figures are derived.

      CLASSIFICATIONS

      Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Main Structure

      35 The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is a hierarchical classification system consisting of six interrelated classification structures. The ASGC provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics which are comparable and can be spatially integrated.

      36 The state/territory is the largest spatial unit in the Main Structure and in the ASGC. Six states and five territories are recognised in the ASGC: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and the External Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

      37 For the purpose of this publication, ASGC have been derived from Census Collection District based on the residential address of the child where available. For children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in New South Wales, ASGC is based on the Suburb and postcode of the child. Also children enrolled and attending preschool programs in Jervis Bay have been included in statistics for the Australian Capital Territory and the external Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included in statistics for Western Australia.

      38 For further information refer to Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0).

      Remoteness Areas

      39 Remoteness Areas (RA) are the spatial units that make up the ASGC Remoteness Classification. There are six classes of Remoteness Area in the Remoteness Structure: Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia, Very Remote Australia and Migratory. Under this classification, statistics were produced for:
        • Major Cities of Australia
        • Inner Regional Australia
        • Outer Regional Australia
        • Remote Australia
        • Very Remote Australia.

      Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

      40 SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2006 Census information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia.

      41 Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. They each summarise a different set of social and economic information. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measuring income or unemployment alone, for example.

      42 The four indexes in SEIFA 2006 are:
        • Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage: is derived from Census variables related to disadvantage, such as low income, low educational attainment, unemployment, and dwellings without motor vehicles
        • Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage: a continuum of advantage (high values) to disadvantage (low values) which is derived from Census variables related to both advantage and disadvantage, like household with low income and people with a tertiary education
        • Index of Economic Resources: focuses on Census variables like the income, housing expenditure and assets of households
        • Index of Education and Occupation: includes Census variables relating to the educational and occupational characteristics of communities, like the proportion of people with a higher qualification or those employed in a skilled occupation.

      43 The concept of relative socio-economic disadvantage is neither simple, nor well defined. SEIFA uses a broad definition of relative socio-economic disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society. While SEIFA represents an average of all people living in an area, SEIFA does not represent the individual situation of each person. Larger areas are more likely to have greater diversity of people and households.

      44 For this publication quintiles of the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage are used to assign a SEIFA to children.

      45 Quintiles: all areas are ordered from lowest to highest score, the lowest 20% of areas are given a quintile number of 1 and so on, up to the highest 20% of areas which are given a quintile number of 5. This means that areas are divided up into five groups, depending on their score. The lower quintiles represent the more disadvantaged areas.

      46 For the purpose of this publication, SEIFA have been derived from Census Collection District based on the residential address of the child where available. For children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in New South Wales, SEIFA is based on the Suburb and postcode of the child. As the SEIFA for children in New South Wales are based on broader geographic regions than other jurisdictions, the SEIFA scores are not directly comparable and inferences between jurisdictions should not be made.

      47 For more information on SEIFA please see Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0)


      CONFIDENTIALITY

      48 The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individuals cannot be derived from published data.

      49 Some techniques used to guard against identification or disclosure of confidential information in tables are the suppression of sensitive cells or random adjustments to cells with very small values. To protect confidentiality within this publication, some cell values may have been suppressed and are not available for publication. These values are included in totals where applicable. In these cases data may not sum to totals due to the confidentialisation of individual cells.


      ADDITIONAL STATISTICS AVAILABLE

      50 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

      51 ABS products and publications are available free of charge from the ABS web site <http://www.abs.gov.au>. Click on Statistics to gain access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information.

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