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4240.0.55.001 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2014   
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The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection) has been established to provide nationally comparable statistics on early childhood education and care (ECEC). The collection also enables improvements in the quality and accessibility of national ECEC data and assists in the progress reporting for the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE). Chapter 8: Collection Background and Governance, provides further context to the Collection and background information, including information on governance and the NP ECE.

The collection is underpinned by standards specified within the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS). Further information on the ECEC NMDS is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) website: <>.

Data standards and collection instructions for the National ECEC Collection are also outlined in detail within the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.002) (the Data Collection Guide).

Data collected through the Collection are published annually, with the fourth iteration being Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0).

Previous editions of this publication in 2010 and 2011 were labelled as Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 and 2011 (cat. no. 4240.0), due to data quality and coverage issues in the first two years of the collection.

Whilst there are still some jurisdictions not able to meet all of the standards set out in the ECEC NMDS, there has been substantial improvement by data providers to meet those standards. In 2012 the ABS determined the Collection no longer warranted the label of ‘Experimental Estimates’ due to the improvements in:

There has also been significant improvement in the quality of the statistical linkage variable, which has significantly allowed for the improvement of identification of both child counts, and the year before full-time schooling (YBFS) counts.

This National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (Concepts, Sources and Methods) publication details information for data users relating to the 2013 Collection. It includes an overview of the Collection and discussions on collection scope and coverage, key concepts and definitions, data quality, the availability of data, and background and governance information.

The Data Collection Guide is published in conjunction with the Concepts, Sources and Methods publication. The Data Collection Guide provides detailed guidelines, instructions and definitions to assist in the collection and reporting of ECEC data collected using both URL and aggregate level data collection methodologies. The Data Collection Guide is primarily for the states and territories and Commonwealth data providers to assist with the collection of nationally comparable ECEC data and is released for general information. The Data Collection Guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the 2013 ABS National ECEC data request and the 2013 ECEC NMDS. The guidelines contained within the Data Collection Guide will facilitate the delivery of nationally comparable ECEC statistics.

The Concepts, Sources and Methods publication has been developed by the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics within the ABS. Further collection improvements are planned, and changes in data collection capabilities and methodologies across jurisdictions will necessitate updates to this publication on an annual basis.

ABS terminology guidelines on the use of 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander' and 'Indigenous' to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has recently been updated to better reflect current, common and recommended practice. The ABS adopted 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' as the most precise and inclusive reference to use when referring to Australia's first peoples. For example 'Indigenous Status' is now 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status'. 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' replaces 'Indigenous' in this publication except where 'Indigenous' directly relates to the input collection standard 'Indigenous' as specified in the 2013 ECEC NMDS or to a specific data element description in the ECEC NMDS. Consequently, references to 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' in this publication will not always be consistent with the 2013 ECEC NMDS. ABS output tables have been amended to reflect the new terminology. Non-indigenous people will continue to be used to describe collectively Australians who are not Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For further assistance or information, please contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) on 1300 135 070 or go to: <>. For additional information on the Collection please see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.002) and Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0).

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