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4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/03/2015   
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KEY FINDINGS


This publication presents statistics on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia in 2014. The results are compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. Children enrolled in and attending preschool programs are disaggregated by various classifications including state/territory, sector, age, indigenous status, Remoteness Areas (RA) and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage. Statistics on program fees and the hours enrolled and attending preschool programs are also presented.


CHILDREN

Preschool Enrolments and Attendance

In 2014, there were 309,185 children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program in Australia. Children aged 4 years comprised 82.3% of all enrolled children, while 17.7% were aged 5 years. Of the total number of enrolled children, 51.9% were enrolled in a preschool, 44.1% were enrolled in a preschool program within a long day care (LDC) centre, while 4.0% of children were enrolled in programs across more than one provider type.

Graph Image for Graph 1 - Children enrolled, by age and sector, Australia, 2014


There were 297,405 children aged 4 or 5 years attending a preschool program in Australia. Attendance patterns tend to be consistent with enrolments, by age, sector and state and territory. Variations between states and territories can reflect the different primary school starting ages applicable in each state and territory, and also different preschool program delivery models. For more information on both preschool and primary school starting ages, please refer to Appendix 3 - Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.

Of the 160,491 children enrolled at a preschool, 39.6% were in Government preschools and 59.7% were in Non-government preschools. A small proportion of children were enrolled in multiple preschools.

The majority of the 136,467 children enrolled in preschool programs at LDCs were at Non-government centres (91.0%), with 7.6% enrolled in Government-run LDCs, and a small proportion enrolled in multiple LDCs.

Graph Image for Graph 2 - Distribution of Children Enrolled, by sector, Australia, 2014 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes children at multiple preschools

Source(s): Graph 2 - Distribution of Children Enrolled, by sector, Australia, 2014 (a)-Copy of 4240



All states except New South Wales and Queensland had the majority of their child enrolments in preschool. Tasmania had the highest proportion of children enrolled in preschools (92.2%), closely followed by Western Australia (89.8%). The distribution presented below reflects the different delivery models in each state and territory.

Graph Image for Graph 3 - Distribution of Children Enrolled, by sector and state, 2014

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes children at multiple preschools

Source(s): Graph 3 - Distribution of Children Enrolled, by sector and state, 2014-Copy of 4240



Preschool education statistics are not fully comparable across years due to differences in the Collection coverage and methodologies. The statistics may also be affected by changes to policy settings - for example, South Australia's 5 year old enrolment and attendance counts for the 2014 reference period were affected by the South Australian Government's 'Same First Day' enrolment policy which began in 2013. For more information refer to Appendix 3 - Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.


Weekly Hours

In all states and territories, most children enrolled in a preschool program were enrolled for 15 hours or more per week. The highest proportions of children enrolled for 15 hours or more per week were in Tasmania (98.4%) and the Northern Territory (95.2%).

Graph Image for Graph 4 - Distribution of Weekly Hours for Children Enrolled, by state, 2014



ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHILDREN

In 2014, there were 13,331 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a preschool program in Australia. Of these children, 72.1% were enrolled in a preschool while 24.7% were enrolled in a preschool program within a LDC. Tasmania had the highest proportion of children enrolled in preschools (98.1%), whilst Queensland had the highest proportion enrolled in a preschool program within a LDC (50.8%).

Reflecting the population distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the number of children enrolled in a preschool program were highest in Remote and Very Remote areas for the Northern Territory. In New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were in the Inner/Outer Regional areas. In South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a preschool program were highest in Major City areas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child enrolments were more evenly spread in Western Australia across Major Cities, Inner/Outer Regional and Remote/Very Remote areas.

Graph Image for Graph 5 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children Enrolled, by remoteness area and state, 2014


Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a preschool program, 63.1% attended for 15 hours or more. The highest proportions in this category were in Queensland (80.4%) and Tasmania (74.4%).


HOURLY FEES CHARGED

Nationally, 28.2% of all preschool program enrolments were fee-free, whilst 54.2% required low out-of-pocket costs (between one and four dollars per hour).

Graph Image for Graph 6 - Distribution of Hourly Fees for Children Enrolled, by state, 2014


A high percentage of enrolments at Government preschools were fee-free at the national level (83.7%), and in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, all Government preschool enrolments were free of fees. For Non-government preschool enrolments, the majority cost four dollars per hour or less (79.3%), with the highest proportions being in Queensland (99.6%) and Victoria (94.3%).

For preschool programs within LDCs, most enrolments cost between one and four dollars per hour (64.7%), while 76.7% cost four dollars or less. The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of enrolments at LDCs with fees of four dollars or less (99.7%), followed by Queensland (90.8%) and New South Wales (83.1%).


SERVICE PROVIDERS

In 2014, there were 8,989 service providers delivering a preschool program in Australia. Of these service providers, 4,280 (47.6%) were a Preschool (either stand-alone or as part of a school), and 4,709 (52.4%) were long day care service providers.

Nationally there were 1,866 Government preschools and 365 Government preschool programs within long day care centres.

The split between preschools and LDCs was relatively even at the national level and in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Service delivery models differ among the other states and territories. Queensland and New South Wales have a predominant LDC delivery model (accounting for 69.9% and 67.0% of preschool program providers respectively), whereas preschools made up the highest proportion of providers in Tasmania (93.4%), Western Australia (78.7%), the Northern Territory (76.3%) and South Australia (63.9%).

Graph Image for Graph 7 - Distribution of Service Providers, by state, 2014



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