4240.0 - Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/04/2011  First Issue
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1 This publication contains experimental estimates on children enrolled and attending preschool programs across Australia. Data is collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education.

2 Due to this being the first cycle of the National ECEC Collection, and the different levels of quality of data received, the estimates in this publication are referred to as experimental. Caution should be exercised when interpreting them.


3 Early Childhood Education terminology differs across states and territories and these differences are summarised in the table below. A preschool program is an alternate term for an early childhood education program.

Early Childhood Education terminology, by state and territory

Program name Age requirement(a)

Two years before year 1

NSW Preschool 3 and 4 years old(b)
Vic. Kindergarten / Preschool 4 by 30 April
Qld Kindergarten 4 by 30 June
SA Preschool After 4th birthday
WA Kindergarten 4 by 30 June
Tas. Kindergarten 4 by 1 January
NT Preschool 4 by 30 June(c)
ACT Preschool 4 by 30 April

(a) Sourced from the 2009 Report on Government Services.
(b) As a general rule.
(c) For Indigenous children in remote areas, age requirement is 3 years old by 30 June.

4 A preschool program is a structured, play-based learning program, usually provided by a qualified teacher on a sessional basis, primarily aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. This is irrespective of the type of institution that provides it or whether it is government funded or privately provided. Depending on jurisdictional delivery models, preschool programs may be delivered through government or non-government schools, government or community preschools and for-profit child care providers.


5 The preschool management type refers to the legal or social entity responsible for managing the service. National ECEC preschool data is presented based on ECEC National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) categories, which include government managed, community managed, independent, private-for-profit or other.

6 Data in this publication is presented hierarchically, by government or non-government managed in accordance with the definition in the 2010 ECEC NMDS, which is as follows:

7 Government managed preschools include Australian, state and local government managed services. Government managed preschools may operate within a variety of settings depending on the jurisdiction, funding models and licensing regulations.

8 Non-government managed preschools include:
  • Community managed, including not-for-profit services provided or managed by parents, churches or co-operatives;
  • Private-for-profit, including for-profit services provided or managed by a company or private individual;
  • Independent school, including non-government schools that are governed, managed and accountable at the level of the individual school;
  • Other, including employer sponsored services.


9 A child is considered to be enrolled if they have been offered a place in a preschool program and are actively attending. Children who are absent in the reference period due to illness or holiday leave are considered to be enrolled if they are expected to return.


10 A child is considered to be attending a preschool program if the child is present at least once during the reference period.


11 Fees refer to the 'out of pocket' expenses to the parent or guardian for the child to attend the preschool program, after subsidies have been paid/received. Preschool fees are collected differently for unit record level (URL) data and aggregate level data. For URL data, fee and subsidy information is collected at the child level. As this is not possible for aggregate collections, fee per child information is based on a service's schedule of fixed fees, for example a charge of $150 per full term. The fee schedule can differ between programs, organisations and jurisdictions. Fees may be charged daily, weekly, annually, per session or per term. If data is collected or provided at any level other than weekly, the weekly fee is derived from the provided fee and fee schedule.


12 Hours data is collected differently for URL data and aggregate level data. For URL data, hours information is collected at the child level. As this is not possible for aggregate collections, hours data are collected at the service provider level, and hours per child is derived.


13 The National ECEC Collection age reference date for aggregate collections is 1 July. In 2010, all states and territories that provided aggregate level data, collected age at this reference date except South Australia, which collected 'age at last birthday' and Victoria, which collected age at 30 April. In future collections date of birth will be used instead of age reference date to ensure a more accurate measure of age.

14 In 2010 for jurisdictions that provided URL data where age of the child could not be directly derived, the age was imputed based available information.


Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Main Structure (ASGC)

15 The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is a hierarchical classification system consisting of six interrelated classification structures. The ASGC provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics which are comparable and can be spatially integrated.

16 The state/territory is the largest spatial unit in the Main Structure and in the ASGC. Six states and five territories are recognised in the ASGC: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and the External Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

17 For the purpose of this publication, children enrolled and attending preschool programs in Jervis Bay have been included in statistics for the Australian Capital Territory and the external Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included in statistics for Western Australia.

18 For further information refer to Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat.no.1216.0).

Remoteness Areas

19 Remoteness Areas (RA) are the spatial units that make up the ASGC Remoteness Classification. There are six classes of Remoteness Area in the Remoteness Structure: Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia, Very Remote Australia and Migratory. Under this classification, statistics were produced for:
  • Major Cities of Australia;
  • Inner Regional Australia ;
  • Outer Regional Australia;
  • Remote Australia; and
  • Very Remote Australia.

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

20 Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2006 Census information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia.

21 Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. They each summarise a different set of social and economic information. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measuring income or unemployment alone, for example.

22 The four indexes in SEIFA 2006 are:
  • Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD): is derived from Census variables related to disadvantage, such as low income, low educational attainment, unemployment, and dwellings without motor vehicles.
  • Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD): a continuum of advantage (high values) to disadvantage (low values) which is derived from Census variables related to both advantage and disadvantage, like household with low income and people with a tertiary education.
  • Index of Economic Resources (IER): focuses on Census variables like the income, housing expenditure and assets of households.
  • Index of Education and Occupation (IEO): includes Census variables relating to the educational and occupational characteristics of communities, like the proportion of people with a higher qualification or those employed in a skilled occupation.

23 In this publication, the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage has been used to rank a child's geographic area on a scale of relative disadvantage. The scale has been divided into quintiles, with the first quintile representing the areas of greatest disadvantage and the fifth quintile representing the areas of least relative disadvantage.

24 The concept of relative socio-economic disadvantage is neither simple, nor well defined. SEIFA uses a broad definition of relative socio-economic disadvantage in terms people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society. While SEIFA represents an average of all people living in an area, SEIFA does not represent the individual situation of each person. Larger areas are more likely to have greater diversity of people and households.


25 The Census and Statistics Act, 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individuals cannot be derived from published data.

26 Some techniques used to guard against identification or disclosure of confidential information in statistical tables are suppression of sensitive cells and random adjustments to cells with very small values. To protect confidentiality within this publication, some cell values may have been suppressed and are not available for publication but included in totals where applicable. In these cases data may not sum to totals due to the confidentialisation of individual cells.


27 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

28 ABS products and publications are available free of charge from the ABS web site www.abs.gov.au. Click on Statistics to gain access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information.