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4402.0 - Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2008 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/10/2009   
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23/10/2009 Note: This publication is being updated to correct estimates and proportions in table 13 for the "Remoteness areas of Australia" data item. Associated text on page 8 of the Summary of Findings will also be updated to reflect the corrections made to table 13. These changes will also affect Table 13 in the Data Cube entitled 'Tables 1-25', and the relevant content on the Summary page.

28/08/2009 Note: The data cubes New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory contain selected State versions of publication tables, in Excel spreadsheet format. There are no tables published for Northern Territory.

29/07/2009 Note: Original publication date of Childhood Education and Care, Australia, June 2008

NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents estimates of child care arrangements and early childhood education and learning, compiled from the June 2008 Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS). The child care estimates include type of care usually attended by children under 13 years of age at the time of interview, the hours of care, cost, and demand for care, together with information about the employment and income characteristics of the parents. The early education estimates include children aged 3 to 6 years who usually attended preschool programs in a preschool and/or a long day care setting, usual hours of attendance and cost. For children aged 4 to 8 years attending school at the time of the interview, estimates are presented of parental assessments of the children's adjustment to school together with care and preschool attendance in the two years prior to school enrolment. Estimates are also provided on the nature and extent of parental involvement in selected informal learning activities for children aged 0-8 years.


ABOUT THIS SURVEY

From 1969 to 2005 the ABS conducted 12 Child Care Surveys (CCS). The main aims of those surveys was to provide information on the use and cost of child care in a survey (related to care usage in a survey reference week), and some aspects of families' requirements for formal care or preschool. As with previous CCSs, the June 2008 Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS) was conducted as a supplement to the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). However, the 2008 CEaCS was redeveloped to collect information on:

  • usual care arrangements (for type of care, hours and cost), in addition to previous measures of care used in the survey reference week;

and for the first time
  • early childhood education and learning (the types of learning activities that children aged 0-8 years engage in, the environments in which these activities take place, and patterns of attendance at preschool and school).

As with earlier CCSs, the cost of care estimates are net of the Child Care Benefit (CCB). However, for the 2008 CEaCS, the cost estimates are also net of the Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR), introduced in December 2005, which provides for families to claim the rebate on out-of-pocket expenses for care.


ROUNDING

As totals and percentages are calculated prior to rounding, discrepancies may occur between sums of the rounded component items and totals, or between reported percentages and those that could be calculated from rounded components.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


INTRODUCTION

Tables 1 to 9 in this publication present estimates, for June 2008, of child care arrangements (type of care, cost, hours, of care, reasons for attendance, and family circumstances) that are based on the usual arrangements for that care. However, for time series comparisons of child care arrangements in table 22, the estimates are compiled on the basis of attendance in the survey reference week, which was the basis of collection in previous child care surveys.

Similarly, estimates of the characteristics of children attending preschool in tables 12, 13 and 14 are compiled on a usual attendance basis, whereas in tables 23 and 24 the time series are compiled on the basis of children attending in the survey reference week. For other aspects of early childhood education and learning, such as attendance in a preschool program in a long day care setting, preschool participation prior to commencing school, and parental involvement in selected informal learning activities, estimates are available for the first time in 2008.


USE OF CHILD CARE

In June 2008, of all children aged 0-12 years, parents reported that 1,517,000 (43%) usually attended some type of child care. Of these children, 756,000 (22% of children aged 0-12 years) usually attended formal care and 1,008,000 (29%) usually attended informal care. Included in the estimates of both formal and informal care usage are 248,000 children aged 0-12 years who used both formal and informal care (table 1).

As would be expected, attendance at formal care during the survey reference week was slightly lower (21% of children aged 0-12 years) than the usual care measure (22%). This reflects the fact that formal care arrangements are generally established for some period of time, but in any one week children may not attend because of illness or other reasons. The proportion of children using informal care in the survey reference week (34% of children aged 0-12 years) was much higher than for those children usually attending informal care (29%), reflecting the more likely ad hoc need for and availability of informal care arrangements.


Trends over time

In 2008, of children aged 0-11 years, 1,546,000 (48%) had used child care (formal or informal) in the survey reference week, similar to the proportions in both June 2005 and nine years earlier in June 1999. Over that same nine year period, the proportion of children aged 0-11 years attending formal care in the survey reference week rose from 17% in 1999 to 22% in 2008, while usage of informal care fell from 37% to 34% (table 22).

PROPORTION OF CHILDREN(a) WHO USED FORMAL CARE(b)
Graph: PROPORTION OF CHILDREN(a) WHO USED FORMAL CARE(b)



Usual formal care and informal care

The most common type of formal care usually attended by children aged 0-12 years in 2008 was Long day care, with 408,000 children (12%) attending. Before and/or after school care was usually attended by 253,000 children (7%), and Family day care was attended by 71,000 children (2%). Occasional care and Other formal care were each usually attended by 1% of children aged 0-12 (table 1).

Grandparents provided care on a usual basis for 660,000 grandchildren (19% of all children aged 0-12 years), non-resident parents and other relatives each provided care for 5% of children aged 0-12, and other people provided care for 4% of children aged 0-12 (table 1).


Usual care for children of different ages

Usual child care attendance varied with age, particularly for formal care. For children under one year, 9% usually attended formal care. At age one the proportion usually attending formal care was 35%; by age two it was 48%; and at age three it was 50%, with Long day care the type of care most commonly used. At age four, when many children have started preschool, the proportion of children attending formal child care was lower at 36%, but still with most of these children attending Long day care. For five year olds, by which age most children have started school, the proportion usually attending formal care was down to 20%, and for this age group most formal care was being provided in Before/after school care. For 6 to 8 year old children, 16% attended formal care; and for 9 to 12 year olds, 9% attended formal care. For both these age groups, attendance at Before/after school care predominated (table 1).

Around a third of children aged one to four years were usually cared for in an informal setting. The proportion was lower (23%) for children under one year old, while 28% of children aged 5 to 12 years used informal care (table 1).

PROPORTION OF CHILDREN (a) USUALLY USING CARE BY AGE
Graph: PROPORTION OF CHILDREN (a) USUALLY USING CARE BY AGE



Couple and one parent families

The proportion of children aged 0-12 years who usually attended child care was higher in one parent families (56%) than in couple families (41%). Of the 599,000 children aged 0-12 years in one parent families, 43% were in informal care and 24% were in formal care (of these, 11% were in both types of care). Of the 2,899,000 children aged 0-12 years in couple families, 26% were in informal care and 21% in formal care (of these, 6% were in both types of care) (table 3).

For children aged 0-12 years, grandparents were a major source of informal care used by both couple and one parent families (19% and 18% of children respectively). However, for children aged 0-12 in one parent families, non-resident parents were the most often reported source of care (21%) (table 3).


Reasons for using care

Work related reasons (summing to 75% of children in formal care) were the most frequent reasons given for children's attendance in formal care, followed by 'Beneficial for child' (29%) (table 4). Of all children who usually attended informal care, work related reasons were the most common (58%), followed by personal reasons (31%) (table 5).

ALL REASONS USUALLY ATTENDED FORMAL CARE
Graph: ALL REASONS USUALLY ATTENDED FORMAL CARE



HOURS AND COST OF CHILD CARE

Usual hours of care

Of those children who usually attended formal care, 45% attended for less than 10 hours per week. Of those children who usually attended informal care, 60% attended it for less than 10 hours per week. The proportion of children who usually attended any type of child care for 35 or more hours per week was 13%. For all children usually in any care, the mean and median number of hours attended were 17 and 10 hours per week respectively (table 6).


Usual cost of care

Cost of care measures in this publication take into account the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR) entitlements.

Of all children aged 0-12 years who usually attended child care, for 1,134,000 children (75%) the weekly cost of care (after CCB and CCTR) was less than $40 (and for nearly two thirds of those children there were no costs). For 9% of children usually in care the weekly cost was $100 or more (table 7). For all formal care the mean and median weekly costs per child were $53 and $35 respectively. The cost was highest for Long day care, with a median weekly cost of $53. The majority of informal care was provided free of charge, with a payment being made for 7% of children using informal care (table 7). The median weekly cost for formal care per child for less than 5 hours care was $12, while for 40 hours or more the median weekly cost was $143 (table 8).

MEDIAN COST OF FORMAL CARE FOR CHILD(a)
Graph: MEDIAN COST OF FORMAL CARE FOR CHILD(a)


For couple families with children aged 0-12 years who usually attended formal care, the median weekly family cost (for all children in the family attending formal care) was $49, compared to $28 for one parent families (table 9).


DEMAND FOR CHILD CARE

Whether required any/additional formal care or preschool

Previous child care surveys have collected information to support investigations of the overall demand for formal child care and preschool services. In this publication, the summary measures of requirements for any/additional formal care or preschool have been redeveloped to include measures of both current need (i.e. at the time of interview) as well as expected future, or potential, need. Requirements for services currently and/or in the future were collected for all children aged 0-12 years, whether or not these children were already attending child care or preschool. For parents who currently required any/additional care or preschool, additional information was collected on whether parents had taken active steps to try to find additional child care or preschool, including: whether enquiries were made as to the availability of any/additional formal care or preschool places; whether parents had applied for any/additional formal care or preschool; and whether they would use preferred any/additional formal care or preschool if it became available in the next four weeks.

In June 2008, parents indicated current and/or future requirements for any/additional formal care or preschool for 908,000 children aged 0-12 years. Of these, parents of 126,000 children (4% of children aged 0-12 years) currently required any/additional formal care or preschool at the time of interview. For another 22% of children aged 0-12, parents expected to require any/additional formal care or preschool in the future only. Parents of a further 74% of children aged 0-12 years neither required any/additional formal care or preschool now nor expected to need it in the future (table 10).

For children aged 0-12 years who attended school and for whom any/additional formal care was currently required, the most common type of formal care required was Before and/or after school care (88%). For children aged 0-12 years who did not attend school and for whom any/additional formal care or preschool was currently required, 43% required Long day care, and 40% required Preschool (table 11).

The main reasons provided by parents for currently requiring any/additional formal care for children who attended school were work related reasons (77%). Parents reported that the main reasons they currently required any/additional formal care or preschool for children who did not attend school were 'Beneficial for the child' (51%) followed by work related reasons (35%) (table 11).

For the majority of children aged 0-12 years for whom any/additional formal care or preschool was currently required, the number of days required were three days or less (81%). For 42% of children for whom any/additional formal care or preschool was currently required, parent(s) reported needing one day or less, and a further 18% required two days. The mean and median number of days for which any/additional formal care or preschool was currently required were both 2 days, with children attending school requiring a mean of 3 days, and children not attending school requiring a mean of 2 days (table 11).

Of the 126,000 children aged 0-12 with a current requirement, parent(s) of 85,000 (67%) of these children did not apply for them to attend any/additional formal care or preschool. Parent(s) of 41,000 (33%) of these children did apply for them to attend any/additional care or preschool, and it was available for 16,000 of these children. However, for 25,000 children whose parent(s) applied, any/additional formal care or preschool was not available.

Of the 110,000 children (comprising children whose parents did not apply for any/additional formal care or preschool (85,000); and children whose parents applied, but for whom any/additional care was not available (25,000)), 69,000 (63%) would attend any/additional formal care or preschool if it became available in the next four weeks; and 41,000 would not attend any/additional formal care or preschool if it became available in the next four weeks, with 'Cost/too expensive' the main reason given for not attending (46%) (table 11).


EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Attendance at preschool or a preschool program in long day care

In June 2008, of children aged 3-6 years who did not attend school (552,000), 395,000 (72%) usually attended a preschool or a preschool program in long day care. Of all children aged 3-6 years who did not attend school, 42% (232,000) usually attended a preschool only, 23% (127,000) usually attended a preschool program in long day care only and 37,000 children usually attended preschool programs in both settings (table 12).

In couple families, 72% of children aged 3-6 years who did not attend school usually attended either a preschool or a preschool program in long day care, compared to 66% of children in one parent families (table 12).

In couple families, the highest rate of non-participation in either preschool or a preschool program in long day care was for children in families where one parent was employed part time and the other parent was not employed, or neither parent was employed (43%). In one parent families where the parent was not employed, 39% of children did not attend either preschool or a preschool program in long day care (table 12).

There were higher participation rates in early childhood education programs for children in couple families where the parents earned $2,000 or more per week (79%) compared to children in couple families where the parents earned less than $1,200 per week (66%). For children in one parent families where parents earned less than $1,200 per week average participation (65%) was similar to children in couple families with the same level of income (table 12).


Preschool and preschool program attendance in the year prior to attending school

Of the 1,028,000 children aged 4-8 years who attended school in June 2008, 82% usually attended a preschool or a preschool program in long day care in the year prior to attending school. Of those children usually attending, parents reported that 94% of their children made a good adjustment to school compared to 88% of children that did not attend either preschool or a preschool program in long day care in the year prior to attending school (table 14).


Hours and cost of attendance at preschool

Data in table 13 presents information for those who attended a designated preschool only, because in June 2008 information collected on the hours and cost of attendance for children attending long day care did not separately identify either hours of participation in a preschool program in Long day care, nor any separate costs for participating in those programs.

Of the children aged 3-6 years who usually attended a preschool (268,000), 30% attended for less than 10 hours per week, 47% attended for between 10 and 14 hours per week, and 23% attended for 15 or more hours per week (table 13).

Children living in major cities of Australia were more likely to usually attend a preschool for 15 hours or more per week (28%) than children living in outer regional or remote parts of Australia (20%). Children living in major cities were more likely (31%) to pay $60 or more per week more for preschool attendance than children living in other areas of Australia (12%) (table 13).

Children usually attending a government preschool were less likely to attend preschool for 15 hours or more per week (11%) than children attending a private preschool (34%). The majority ( 58%) of children attending a government preschool did so for between 10 and 14 hours per week. Children attending a government preschool were more likely to have no cost (17%) than those attending a private preschool (2%). Children attending a private preschool were more likely (44%) to have high costs ($60 or more per week) than those attending a government preschool (7%) (table 13).

Nearly half (41%) of the children usually attending a preschool in the ACT had no cost to attend preschool while in NSW the proportion was 2%. Conversely, NSW had the highest proportion (49%) of children usually attending a preschool that were paying $60 or more per week, while the proportion for the ACT was 29% (table 13).


Trends over time

National estimates of the number of children reported as attending a preschool in the survey reference week in June 2008 are not comparable to previous years. In 2007 the Queensland Government introduced a Preparatory year of schooling prior to Year 1. This has had a significant impact on the number of children aged 3-6 years who attended preschool in Queensland in June 2008, with the proportion of children attending preschool in that state falling from 22% in 2005 to 10% in 2008. This change needs to be noted when making comparisons of preschool attendance over time both at the state and national levels. (table 24).


INFORMAL LEARNING

In June 2008, of all children aged 0-2 years, parents of 759,000 children (92%) reported involvement in informal learning activities with their children in the survey reference week. Parents reported reading to or telling a story to 80% of all children of this age, with 64% of these children being read to or told a story everyday. Children in families with at least one employed parent were more likely (93%) to have a parent actively involved with them in informal learning activities than if they had no employed parent (84% in couple families and 88% in one parent families). For children in couple families with no parents who were employed, of those that were read to or told them stories, 56% participated in these informal learning activities with a parent every day compared with 68% of children in families where both parents were employed. In one parent families where the parent read to their child or told them stories, the children of parents who were not employed were more likely to participate in such activities every day (54%) than children of lone parents who were employed (44%) (table 15).

Almost all children (99%) aged 3-8 years were involved in informal learning activities with their parents in the survey reference week. 1,515,000 million (96%) children aged 3-8 years had a parent read to them, tell them a story or listen while the child read. Of these children, 51% were involved in these activities every day, 31% on four to six days of the week, and 18% on one to three days (table 16).


WORK AND CHILD CARE

Use of care by employed parents

In June 2008, among children in couple families in which both parents were employed, 53% usually attended child care. The proportions were higher for families in which the mother was employed full-time (59%) than if the mother worked part-time (50%) (table 17). In one parent families, 70% of children with a working parent usually attended child care, compared with 40% of those whose parent was not employed (table 18).


Use of work arrangements to help care for children

Parents use a range of work arrangements to help them care for their children. These include flexible working hours, part-time work, shiftwork, work from home and job sharing arrangements. Of all families with children aged 0-12 years, with at least one parent employed, 64% indicated that at least one parent normally used one or more of these work arrangements to help them care for their children. Employed female parents in couple and one parent families (73% and 72% respectively) normally used at least one of these work arrangements. In couple families, 40% of male parents used one or more of these work arrangements, compared to 59% of employed male parents in one parent families (table 21).

USE OF WORK ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP CARE FOR CHILDREN
Graph: USE OF WORK ARRANGEMENTS TO HELP CARE FOR CHILDREN



Trends over time

In families with children aged 0-11 years with at least one parent employed, the proportion of families in which at least one parent used a work arrangement to help care for their children, increased from 53% in 1999 to 64% in 2008. The proportion who used flexible working hours to help care for their children increased over this period, from 33% in 1999 to 43% in 2008 (table 25).

In June 2008, employed female parents used work arrangements to help care for their children in almost three quarters (74%) of families, the same as in 2005. In comparison, 41% of employed male parents used work arrangements to help care for their children, up from 34% in 2005 and from 27% in 1999 (table 25).


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