4240.0.55.001 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection Manual, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/04/2011  First Issue
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The 2010 National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection Manual is intended to fulfil a number of functions:

  • A traditional end to end user's guide to collection methodology and output, data collection standards, definitions and rules;
  • A set of business rules to guide the reporting of early childhood education and care (ECEC) statistics, including methodological differences between jurisdictions and jurisdictional specific data limitations; and
  • Instructions, explanation and guidance for the collection and reporting of both unit record level and aggregate data collections.

These guidelines aim to facilitate the delivery of nationally comparable ECEC statistics from 2011 onwards.

The manual is intended to assist jurisdictions with data collection activities. It is an important initial resource for 2011 data development activities. The manual also details information for data users about future plans and collection improvements.

The manual is divided into two components:
  • User Guide: details information for data users relating to the 2010 National ECEC Collection. This component of the manual includes discussions on collection scope and coverage, collection overview, concepts and definitions, jurisdictional data quality and data availability.
  • Collection Manual: outlines the content of the data standards for the 2010 National ECEC Collection, including background and governance, collection specifications and data element collection instructions, as well as privacy and confidentiality principles.

As this is the first year of the collection, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have documented the data collection guidelines and data limitations based on knowledge of the data and collection processes. The ABS have sought jurisdictional feedback throughout the process and welcome further suggestions for improvements to future editions of the manual.


The National ECEC Collection has been established to provide comparable jurisdictional statistics on ECEC. Statistics produced through the collection are designed to report key performance indicators to measure progress of the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE). Chapter 6, Collection Background and Governance, provides further context to the collection, including information on governance, the NP ECE and performance indicators.

Statistics produced through the National ECEC Collection will provide improvements in the quality and accessibility of national ECEC data. The collection is underpinned by standards 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 website:


Jurisdictions are working closely with the ABS to align established jurisdictional collections to the ECEC NMDS, and further developments are planned for future collections.

One of the main benefits of the collection is that it develops the potential for comparability between jurisdictions and provides a basis for evaluating change over time. Data will be published annually, with the first release being Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4240.0), in April 2011.


The National ECEC Collection Manual has been developed within the ABS by the Education and Training Statistics Administrative Data Centre. Further collection improvements are planned, and changes in data collection capabilities and methodologies across jurisdictions will necessitate updates to this manual on an annual basis.

Users of the manual should contact the ABS by emailing <client.services@abs.gov.au> or freecall 1300 135 070 if they are experiencing any difficulties in applying rules or requirements of the manual.


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