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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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The National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection aims to report accurately on the number of children who have received a preschool program within the collection reference period. To achieve this, an important goal of the collection is to count each child once for the total number of children within each jurisdiction who are enrolled in and attending preschool programs. Given the complexity of the service delivery models for ECEC across Australia, it is a statistical challenge to ensure that children attending multiple preschool programs are only counted once in these total counts.


Jurisdictions collect and report data for the National ECEC Collection using either a Unit Record Level (URL) collection methodology or an Aggregate collection methodology, or sometimes a combination of both depending on the data collection abilities within certain sectors.

A URL data collection methodology collects confidentialised child enrolment and attendance level data, and corresponding service provider record level data for each child in the data set. It also collects confidentialised worker record level data corresponding to service provider record level data for each worker in the data set.

An Aggregate data collection methodology collects totals of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs at the service provider record level only. Data collected at this level does not contain detailed child record level information.

All jurisdictions were able to collect worker data using a URL data collection methodology.

The following table shows the collection methodologies used by each jurisdiction in 2011

Jurisdictional Data Collection Methodologies, 2011

JurisdictionCollection Method

Commonwealth Unit Record Level
New South Wales Unit Record Level
Victoria Unit Record Level
QueenslandUnit Record Level/ Aggregate
South AustraliaAggregate(a)
Western AustraliaUnit Record Level/ Aggregate
TasmaniaUnit Record Level
Northern TerritoryUnit Record Level
Australian Capital Territory Unit Record Level(b)

a) SA collected data from some service providers using a Unit Record Level data collection methodology, however all data were reported at the Aggregate level.
b) ACT collected data from Government preschools only.

A URL collection with appropriate methodologies and protocols is the most appropriate method for ensuring a child who is enrolled in multiple preschool programs is only counted once in the estimates. Aggregate data collection methodologies are limited in their capacity to identify accurately children attending multiple preschool programs. Consequently all data from jurisdictions with a collection process that produced Aggregate data for the 2011 National ECEC Collection, and those whose URL collection methods do not allow for the accurate identification of children attending multiple preschool programs, can only be presented in terms of ‘episodes’ of preschool program provision.


When one child attends two different preschool programs, this is described as a child attending two ‘episodes’ of preschool. Both ‘episodes’ are counted for the total episodes of enrolment and attendance in a preschool program.


Where a child is enrolled in more than one preschool program, this child should only be counted once when counting total numbers of children enrolled and attending (child counts). Only unique child records are included in the count for the total number of children enrolled in and attending a preschool program.


Identification of unique child records can only be achieved by application of a statistical linkage key (SLK) and ideally a child/client database. For the National ECEC Collection, child records with identical SLKs are flagged and investigated in the child/client database. This process confirms whether the matching SLK relates to the same child enrolled in multiple preschool programs, or whether the SLK was a coincidental match (i.e. another child with a similar name).

Alternatively, where no child/client database is available, a matching methodology is applied to determine matching SLKs. These are considered to be dual enrolments and combined accordingly into a unique child record, with totals for hours attended and enrolled, fees charged and maximum preschool program hours available. If the matching SLK is found to be a coincidental match, both records are retained as individual unique child records.


Identification of unique child records in the Year before Full-time Schooling (YBFS) can only be achieved by application of a SLK, 2 years of data collected using a URL data collection methodology and ideally a child/client database.

For the National ECEC Collection, children who are enrolled for more than one year of a preschool program are identified and if these children are aged 5 or 6 years old, their records are excluded from the number of children in the YBFS. Four year old children who are enrolled in more than one year of a preschool program are not excluded because they would not have been attending a program intended for children in the YBFS in the previous year (i.e. they would have been attending as an eligible early entry child but not included in the count of children enrolled and attending in the YBFS).


The tables presented using this concept included episode counts of teachers delivering preschool programs and episode counts of all workers who have contact with children in a preschool program. In 2011 it was not possible to identify workers who worked for more than one service provider and therefore these counts included double-counting of some workers. This meant that all worker data for all state and territories are presented as episodes.

For more information on these measurement concepts see National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

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