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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.
6 All children who as at 1 July in the collection year were between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive) and were enrolled during the reference period in a preschool program are in-scope of the Collection. 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.
7 In this publication data for children are reported as:
8 A worker is considered to be in-scope if the worker is a paid contact employee who has delivered, or assisted in delivering, a preschool program at an in-scope service provider, during the reference period.
2013 DATA COMPARABILITY
9 To ensure national comparability, all jurisdictions were required to follow national data standards for the 2013 Collection. The Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC 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, 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 (NIA ECEC). Compliance with these standards will ensure ECEC data is consistent and comparable between states and territories. More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW website
10 Not all jurisdictions were able to align their collection methods directly with these standards. Matters relating to data quality are outlined in detail in Chapter 6 of the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) As a result, not all measurement concepts or data items are able to be published for all jurisdictions. Issues affecting data comparability are included as footnotes and/or explanatory notes within this publication.
11 In 2013, a small number of children in WA and Queensland (Qld) were supplied as aggregate data. The use of aggregate data may result in a small overcount of children within Qld and WA. The impacts of aggregate data are outlined as appropriate throughout these explanatory notes and the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).
12 In 2013, the ABS, Qld Department of Education, Training and Employment and the Australian Government Department of Education collectively agreed upon and conducted an imputation strategy to maximise the use of CCMS child unit record level (URL) records to produce child counts for Qld. For more information on this strategy see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).
LONG DAY CARE CENTRE DATA
13 Long day care (LDC) centres delivering a preschool program are considered to be in-scope for the Collection. However, for the purposes of a jurisdictional collection, these programs may not be recognised as a preschool program, or considered outside of jurisdictional scope, if they are not funded, regulated or licensed by the relevant state or territory education department. Despite this, these LDCs are still considered to be within the scope of the Collection.
14 For the 2013 Collection, information on children attending a preschool program delivered by a degree qualified teacher in LDC settings was primarily provided by the Australian Government.
15 LDCs that provide preschool programs are known by a variety of nomenclature, such as kindergartens, preschools, child care centres, or early learning centres; however, they are referred to as 'LDCs' within this publication. The preschool programs delivered in these LDCs are called either kindergartens or preschools (depending on location of service delivery); however, they are referred to as 'preschool programs' within this publication.
16 The delivery of preschool programs, including those delivered in LDCs, varies within and across the different states and territories.
17 Information was collected from all LDC service providers that have children enrolled aged 3 to 6 (inclusive); however, only data from those delivering a preschool program were considered to be in-scope.
18 Due to the collection capabilities within each state and territory, data for the 2013 Collection were derived from a number of data sources. Child Care Management System (CCMS) data were used in addition to state and territory-supplied datasets to achieve more comprehensive collection coverage.
19 All services approved for the purposes of Child Care Benefit (CCB) were required to provide data through the CCMS. However, LDCs delivering preschool programs were not mandated to complete the preschool program component of the CCMS, which has resulted in under-coverage due to levels of non-response. For the 2013 Collection, information from the ECEC National Workforce Census 2013, conducted by the Australian Government Department of Education in May 2013, was used to adjust for non-response in the CCMS data. This is a self-report survey conducted at a service level. In 2013 the response rate of LDC services was 86.4%. In addition, the ECEC National Workforce Census 2013 provides detailed information on the types of services provided by LDC services (specifically preschool programs) and the workers in those services (including information on field and level of qualification and role). This information was used to identify LDC services that did not report children attending preschool in CCMS. Adjustments to the CCMS data were undertaken to include children in those services in the data provided to ABS. Service providers that were not approved for CCB purposes were not included in the CCMS.
20 From the ECEC Workforce Census it is possible to determine which LDC service providers were providing a preschool program (using a range of service and worker variables) in the survey reference week (20 - 26 May 2013). This information, along with information on the aggregate number of children enrolled and attending preschool and LDC and the hours of teaching provided were used to impute additional information on preschool attendance in the CCMS data. In 2013, imputations of episodes of enrolment increased significantly compared with 2012. The imputation improved the completeness of the CCMS data. However, as the imputation is based on data collected in a self-report survey, with a level of non-response, the resulting numbers should be considered as estimates and interpreted appropriately.
21 This data should be used with caution as there is a high likelihood of worker duplication across and within source data files, due to the same worker delivering preschool programs at multiple service providers during the reference period. For more information, see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001), under Chapter 6, Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.
COLLECTION DATE AND REFERENCE PERIOD
22 The collection date for the Collection is the first Friday in August of each year. In 2013, the collection date for all jurisdictions was Friday, 2 August 2013, with a recommended reference period of 29 July - 2 August 2013. Some jurisdictions preferred to incorporate a reference period of two weeks that included the collection date, which better reflects their preschool program delivery models. Jurisdictional collection dates and reference periods for 2013 are summarised in the table below:
AGE REFERENCE DATE
23 The age reference date for child data is 1 July in the collection reference year. Jurisdictions that utilised an aggregate data collection methodology for any part of their collection were required to derive children's ages as at 1 July in the reference year. Jurisdictions that utilised a URL data methodology collected and supplied the date of birth for every child episode record. The ABS then derived the age of each child as at 1 July in the reference year.
24 For the purposes of the Collection, a preschool program is defined as a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed primarily 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. This publication uses the term 'preschool program', notwithstanding that the terminology varies considerably across state and territories.
25 SA preschools transitioned to the 'Same First Day' enrolment policy in 2013. Enrolments changed from 4 intakes per year previously, to 2 intakes per year in 2013 (Term 1 and Term 2 only). From January 2014, there is only 1 intake per year, bringing SA into line with other states and territories. Catholic affiliated preschools in SA also adopted these arrangements but Independent schools with a preschool program have not yet adopted them. SA DECD expect that independent schools that offer long day care with an integrated preschool program, will adopt the policy in future.
26 Most 4 year old children who would normally have enrolled in preschool in Term 3, (i.e. prior to the 2013 National ECEC reference period) were deferred to the 2014 Term 1 intake. Consequently, a significant number of 4 year olds in SA who would otherwise have been in scope for the annual Collection were not included in the 2013 Collection. For more information, see the 2013 National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001), under Chapter 6, Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.
27 These differences are summarised in the following table:
SECTOR OF PRESCHOOL PROVISION
28 Depending on jurisdictional delivery models, preschool programs may be delivered through government or non-government schools, government or community preschools and private for-profit child care providers.
29 Data in this publication is presented hierarchically, by government or non-government managed preschools, and by LDC centres with a preschool program, in accordance with the definition in the 2013 ECEC NMDS, which is as follows:
30 Where children are enrolled in multiple preschool programs, they will have an episode for each of those experiences, represented in the episode counts. In child tables they may be reported against their main preschool program (determined by hours enrolled), or against their provider type experience, which is a provider experience type determined by the range of providers at which a child is enrolled at.
31 A small number of service providers in Qld were described as having a service activity type of occasional care and have been included in the publication as a LDC centre.
32 A child is considered to be enrolled in a preschool program if the child has been offered a place, has formally enrolled or registered in a preschool program and is actively attending. A child is considered to be actively attending preschool if they attended the preschool program for at least one hour in the reference period or were absent during the reference period due to illness or extended holiday leave, but expected to return.
33 A child is considered to be attending a preschool program if the child is enrolled in a preschool program and has attended that preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period. Children who did not attend a preschool program during the reference period (e.g. children who were absent due to illness or extended holiday leave) are not considered to have attended a preschool program. A child may attend for more hours than they are enrolled.
PRESCHOOL PROGRAM FEES
34 Fee schedules 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. Fees charged are usually based on the number of hours of a preschool program a child is enrolled to receive.
35 For aggregate data, information on fees per child information is based on a service's schedule of fixed fees, for example a charge of $150 per full term.
36 For URL data, information on fees are collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one enrolment at a preschool program their fees are calculated by summing the fees for all of their enrolments (episodes).
37 In 2013 preschool fees were unable to be identified separately from LDC fees in the CCMS. Preschool fees for enrolments in CCMS were calculated by proportioning the preschool hours to the total hours at the LDC centre for each enrolment. This assumes that a fee structure for a preschool program at a LDC centre is the same as the fee structure for non-preschool program care at the same LDC centre.
38 Data on fees are rounded to the nearest dollar for publication.
39 For aggregate data, information on hours is collected at the service provider level. Hours per child are derived based on the number of enrolments at that service provider.
40 For URL data, information on hours is collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one enrolment at a preschool program their hours are calculated by summing the hours for all of their enrolments (episodes).
41 The following points apply to data supplied by the WA Department of Education and do not apply to data supplied from the CCMS for children in WA.
42 Data on hours are rounded to the nearest hour for publication. Hours less than 1 but more than 0 are rounded to 1 hour.
ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION (ERP)
43 The preliminary ERP figures presented in this publication are published numbers based on the 2011 Census. The ABS has provided these numbers as indicative only. They have been included here to support comparative reporting that has been performed using the 2011 ERP time series. In the Collection, children enrolled and attending preschool programs in Jervis Bay have been included in statistics for the ACT. The Other Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included in statistics for WA. Official ERP numbers for WA and ACT do not include Other Territories.
44 In this publication Remoteness Area (RA), Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), and Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD) are based on 2011 Census data to maintain coherence between the reporting variables.
45 The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is the ABS' new geographical framework, which came into effect from July 2011. The ASGS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). For the 2013 Collection, data have been classified to the ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) for RAs and SEIFA. Accordingly, data may be output from the 2013 Collection using aggregations of ASGS SA1s and higher statistical areas.
46 The ASGS provides a common framework of statistical geography used by the ABS to enable the publication of statistics that are comparable and spatially integrated. Its purpose is to outline the conceptual basis of Mesh Block, the regions of the main structure, and the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and their relationships to each other. The digital boundaries, codes and labels for each of these regions can be downloaded from the ABS website free of charge <http://www.abs.gov.au/geography>.
Remoteness Areas (RA)
47 The RAs divide Australia into broad geographic regions that share common characteristics of remoteness for statistical purposes. The Remoteness Structure divides each state and territory into several regions on the basis of their relative access to services.
48 The classes of RA in the Remoteness Structure are:
49 RAs are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) produced by the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide. For more information please refer to the online publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).
50 In the Collection, state and territory geography is determined by the geographical location of the child's main service provider. RA categories are assigned using the child's usual residence. Where a child's usual residence is not stated, the main service provider's location is used as a proxy. If the service provider's location is not stated, the counts of children are included in the totals. Due to the methodology used in the collection, it is possible for counts of children to be classified into states or territories that do not contain a certain RA class; the Northern Territory does not contain a Major City or an Inner Regional classification, Tasmania does not contain a Major City, and ACT does not contain Remote or Very Remote classifications.
51 The quantity of records for which RA was derived, using service provider location, can be identified from the Not Stated SEIFA IRSD data (see paragraph 52).
SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDEXES FOR AREAS
Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage
52 The SEIFA is a product developed especially for those interested in the assessment of the welfare of Australian communities. SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census of Population and Housing 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. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measuring, for example, income or unemployment alone. The SEIFA index used for the Collection is the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD). No alternative SEIFA is applied if a child record has a Not Stated SEIFA IRSD. Where a child's geography was not stated the SEIFA IRSD is published as Not Stated.
53 Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage: The IRSD summarises a range of information about the economic and social resources of people and households within an area. Unlike other indexes, this index includes only measures of relative disadvantage.
54 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.
55 For more information on SEIFA please see the Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0).
56 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 ensure that any statistical information about individuals cannot be derived from published data.
57 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values and summary variables. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.
58 After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.
59 The introduction of perturbation in this publication ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as Table Builder.
ADDITIONAL STATISTICS AVAILABLE
60 When reporting ABS statistics, please attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source. 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 (NIRS) on 1300 135 070.
61 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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