PURPOSE OF COLLECTION
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) and for assessing outcomes and informing future policy developments in the ECEC area. ECEC statistics published by the ABS represent considerable 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.
The Collection is underpinned by standards specified within the 2013 Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (the NMDS). Further information on the NMDS is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) website: <http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/494143>
Data from the Collection is published annually, with the fourth iteration being Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0).
PURPOSE OF THIS PUBLICATION
The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide 2013 (the Guide) provides detailed guidelines, instructions and definitions to assist in the collection and reporting of ECEC data collected using both unit record level and aggregate level data collection methodologies. The Guide is intended for use by data providers as the primary information source to assist the delivery of quality data for the Collection. This document is to be used in conjunction with the Data request templates and the NMDS. The guidelines contained within the Guide will facilitate the delivery and the development of nationally comparable ECEC statistics.
A number of data items specified within the Guide are operationally different to what is specified within the NMDS. Where this is the case, full details have been documented and explained in the relevant sections of the Guide. In addition, there are a number of non-NMDS data elements requested by the ABS that work in conjunction with other data elements to ensure high quality output data for the 2013 Collection. The use, purpose and application of the additional data elements are documented within Chapter 2, Data Element Collection Instructions.
USE AND MAINTENANCE OF THIS PUBLICATION
The Guide has been developed by the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics within the ABS. This publication will be updated annually to reflect changes to the agreed collection standards and processes.
For further assistance or information, please contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service (NIRS) on 1300 135 070 or go to: <http://www.abs.gov.au>. For additional information on the Collection please see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) and Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0).
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES
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'. This publication, however, mostly refers specific data element descriptions in the NMDS. Consequently, references to 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' in this publication will not be consistent with the 2013 ABS guidelines and have not been amended to reflect the new terminology.