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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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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY


INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT

Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) is compiled from the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection. The experimental estimates collated from the National ECEC Collection are derived from administrative data provided by state and territory and Commonwealth government departments with responsibility for early childhood education and care. A comprehensive quality declaration for each jurisdiction can be found in the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


RELEVANCE

In 2008, the importance of education in the early years of a child's development was formally acknowledged through the Council of Australian Government's endorsement of a new NP ECE. The National ECEC Collection was conducted for the second time in 2011 as part of data improvement projects under the NP ECE and the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care. The aim of the National ECEC Collection is to provide comparable state and territory statistics on early childhood education. Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) presents experimental estimates on counts of children enrolled and attending preschool programs and episodes of enrolment and attendance at preschool programs across Australia.

The scope of the collection consists of all service providers delivering a preschool program. An preschool program is defined as a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, primarily aimed at children in the year 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. Programs may be delivered in a variety of service settings including separate preschools or kindergartens, long day care centres or in association with a school. Long day care (LDC) centres that do not operate a preschool program are considered out of scope.

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
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 before they commence full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.

Child
All children who at 1 July were between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive), are within 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
All paid employees who were working at an in-scope service provider during the reference period are in-scope of the collection. This includes both contact and non-contact workers, and is irrespective of whether the worker delivered a preschool program during the reference week.


TIMELINESS

The National ECEC Collection was conducted for the second time in 2011 and will continue to be conducted annually. 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 better reflect their preschool program delivery model.

The first Friday in August will be the collection date for future collections, with jurisdictions determining their reference periods ensuring that they include the collection date. Information from the 2011 collection was released within 8 months of the reference period.


ACCURACY

Data for the National ECEC Collection have been compiled according to the national standards outlined in the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) in order to maximise consistency of data across the various jurisdictional collections. Alignment with these standards has not been completely achieved by all jurisdictions for 2011 and care should be taken when comparison of estimates across jurisdictions are made. In addition, some jurisdictions were not able to provide the ABS with certain data elements as specified in the ECEC NMDS.

Data limitations for the 2011 collection include:

  • Under-coverage of the preschool programs in some sectors, for example limited non-government coverage
  • Unit record level data not currently available for all jurisdictions, particularly for the non-government sector or unfunded preschools
  • Children enrolled in multiple preschool programs are not identifiable within all jurisdictions
  • Differences between data element collection methodologies and alignment to national data standards across jurisdictions.

For more information on the collection methodologies and current data limitations for each state and territory, see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website, http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/442053.


COHERENCE

Due to the differing levels of coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the ECEC NMDS across jurisdictions, the data presented in Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) may not be directly comparable across all jurisdictions.

The differences in the scope and counting rules for the National ECEC Collection mean that the data presented in the publication are not strictly comparable to data published in other national or state/territory publications.


INTERPRETABILITY

National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) contains detailed information on the data sources, terminology and other technical aspects associated with the National ECEC statistics.

The manual is available free for download from the Related Information tab.


ACCESSIBILITY

Please refer to the Downloads tab for the products that are available for free from this collection.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


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