4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/03/2015   
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1 This publication contains statistics on children enrolled and attending preschool programs across Australia in 2014. The statistics were compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection). The Collection includes data about service providers, children and workers. Worker data from the 2014 Collection is not included in this publication but is accessible from Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003).


2 For the purposes of the Collection, a preschool program is defined as a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed primarily 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.

3 A preschool program can be delivered in a variety of settings such as stand-alone preschools, pre-schools co-located as part of a school (both government and non-government), and preschools within a LDC centre. A child may attend both a preschool and a separate or adjoined child care facility, such as family day care, outside school hours care, vacation care, in-home care and occasional care services. LDC centres may or may not offer a preschool program as part of their service offering. Participation in preschool is not compulsory and is influenced by parental preference and other factors, such as school starting age in the particular jurisdiction.

4 Preschool programs are referred to by a variety of other terms across states and territories. Age entry requirements also differ across states and territories. These differences are summarised in the following table:


Preschool (Year before full-time schooling)
First year of School (Year prior to Grade 1)
Jurisdiction Program name Age entry requirement Program name Age entry requirement

New South Wales (b) Preschool Generally aged 4 and 5 Kindergarten 5 by 31 July
Victoria (c) Kindergarten 4 by 30 April Preparatory (Prep) 5 by 30 April
Queensland Kindergarten 4 by 30 June Preparatory Year (Prep) 5 by 30 June
South Australia (d) Preschool 4 by 1 May Reception 5 by 1 May
Western Australia Kindergarten 4 by 30 June Pre Primary 5 by 30 June
Tasmania Kindergarten 4 by 1 January Preparatory 5 by 1 January
Northern Territory (e) Preschool 4 by 30 June Transition 5 by 30 June
Australian Capital Territory Preschool 4 by 30 April Kindergarten 5 by 30 April

(a) Sourced from Productivity Commission, 2015, Report on Government Services 2015
(b) In New South Wales, all licensed children’s services for under 6 year olds (who have not commenced Kindergarten) are required to offer programs that meet children’s educational and developmental needs. New South Wales subsidises access to community preschool for 3 year old Aboriginal children and 3 year old children from low income families
(c) In Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children known to child protection are eligible for free kindergarten through Early Start Kindergarten funding if they are 3 years of age by April 30 of the year in which they are enrolled
(d) Children who are Aboriginal or under the Guardianship of the Minister are entitled to commence in a Department funded preschool after their 3rd birthday. The compulsory school starting age in South Australia is 6 years at the oldest. From 2014, children can start school at the beginning of the year in which they turn 5 years as at 1 May
(e) In the Northern Territory children turning four after 30 June are eligible to enrol in a preschool program after their birthday, if places are available and with the understanding that the child will access more than 12 months of preschool. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in remote areas are eligible to enrol in preschool if they turn three on or prior to 30 June of the same year


5 The scope of the Collection consists of all service providers delivering a preschool program to children aged 3 to 6 years (inclusive) enrolled during the reference period.

Service Provider

6 A service provider is considered to be in-scope if it was providing a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.


7 All children who as at 1 July in the collection year were between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive) and were enrolled during the reference period in a preschool program are in-scope of the Collection. To be considered as enrolled, the child must have attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or be absent due to illness or extended holiday leave and expected to return.


8 A worker is considered to be in-scope if the worker is a paid contact employee who has delivered, or assisted in delivering, a preschool program at an in-scope service provider, during the reference period.

9 In an effort to achieve comprehensive coverage, data were sourced from the Australian Government, state and territory education departments and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. The data are mainly sourced from administrative collections, supplemented where necessary to improve the coverage of service providers not otherwise captured due to funding, regulation or licensing arrangements. The coverage in each state and territory for the 2014 Collection is described in Appendix 3 - Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.

10 The current governance responsibilities for ECE within each jurisdiction are outlined below:


Jurisdiction Government Department

Australian Government Australian Government Department of Education and Training (a)
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment
South Australia Department for Education and Child Development
Western Australia Department of Education
Tasmania Department of Education
Northern Territory Department of Education
Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate

(a) Australian Government Department of Education and Training was created from the Australian Government Department of Education on 21 December 2014


11 To ensure national comparability, all jurisdictions were required to follow national data standards. The Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) is a set of national data standards which has been established by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in conjunction with the ABS, the Department of Education and Training, and state and territory departments responsible for early childhood education. More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW website <http://meteor.aihw.gov.au>

12 Not all jurisdictions were able to align their collection methods precisely with these standards as described in Appendix 3. Issues affecting data comparability between the states and territories are included as footnotes and/or explanatory notes within this publication.


13 For the 2014 Collection, information on preschool programs delivered in Long Day Care (LDC) settings was primarily provided by the Australian Government from the Child Care Management System (CCMS). All services approved for the purposes of Child Care Benefit (CCB) were required to provide data through the CCMS. However, LDCs delivering preschool programs were not mandated to complete the preschool program component of the CCMS, which has resulted in under-coverage due to levels of non-response. An imputation for this non-response was made by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training using information from the ECEC National Workforce Census 2013. This is a self-report survey of service providers that was conducted in May 2013 and achieved a response rate of 86.4%.

14 From the ECEC Workforce Census it is possible to determine which LDC service providers were providing a preschool program (using a range of service and worker variables) in the survey reference week (20 - 26 May 2013). This information, along with information on the aggregate number of children enrolled and attending preschool and LDC, and the hours of teaching provided, were used to impute preschool attendance by children aged 4-6 years in the CCMS data. In addition, for the 2014 Collection, information on temporary waivers for ECE degree qualified teachers was also used to impute children attending preschool programs at LDCs.

15 In 2013, imputations of episodes of preschool enrolment increased significantly compared with 2012, and this has increased further in 2014. While the imputation improves the completeness of the CCMS data, the resulting numbers should be considered as estimates and interpreted appropriately.


16 The collection date is the first Friday in August of each year. In 2014, this was Friday, 1 August 2014, with a recommended reference period of 28 July - 3 August 2014. Some jurisdictions preferred to use a reference period of two weeks that included the collection date, to better reflect the timing of their preschool program delivery models. Jurisdictional collection dates and reference periods for 2014 are summarised in the table below:


Jurisdiction Collection Date Reference Period

Australian Government 1 August 2014 28 July - 3 August 2014
20 May - 26 May 2013 (a)
New South Wales 1 August 2014 28 July - 8 August 2014 (b)
Victoria 1 August 2014 28 July - 3 August 2014
Queensland 1 August 2014 28 July - 2 August 2014
South Australia 1 August 2014 28 July - 8 August 2014 (b)
Western Australia 1 August 2014 21 July - 1 August 2014 (b)
Tasmania 1 August 2014 28 July - 8 August 2014 (b)
Northern Territory 1 August 2014 28 July - 1 August 2014 (c)
Australian Capital Territory 1 August 2014 28 July - 8 August 2014 (b)

(a) Australian Government Department of Education and Training National Workforce Census reference week
(b) Jurisdiction collected data for a fortnightly reference period to reflect their preschool delivery model
(c) One remote school had 11 August-15 August 2014 as their reference period for the preschool component


17 Jurisdictions collect and report data for the Collection using either a Unit Record Level (URL) collection methodology or combination of URL and aggregate collection methodologies.

18 A URL methodology collects information for individual children and service providers and workers. In 2014, all jurisdictions were able to collect data applying a URL methodology.

19 An aggregate methodology collects aggregated information at the service provider level. In 2014 Qld collected aggregate data from a number of unfunded preschool programs, and WA provided some aggregate data as pseudo URL data for community preschool programs.

20 A URL collection is the most appropriate method for ensuring a child who is enrolled in multiple preschool programs is only counted once in child level estimates. Aggregate data collection methodologies are limited in their capacity to identify children attending multiple preschool programs. Therefore care needs to be taken when interpreting the Qld results (and to a lesser extent WA results) due to the inherent data limitations caused by the use of a combination of child URL and aggregate methodologies.

Child Episodes

21 For the Collection, an episode is a single occurrence of a child enrolled in and/or attending a preschool program. When a child attends two different preschool programs, this is described as a child having two attendance episodes.

Unique Child Counts

22 The unique child count ensures that when a child attends two or more different preschool programs, the child is only counted once. In any given collection year, the number of unique children will be expected to be less than their number of preschool episodes.

Year before full-time schooling (YBFS)

23 The year before full-time schooling (YBFS) population includes children aged 4 or 5 years old who have not previously attended a preschool program as a four year old. Operationally, the identification of children who attended a preschool program in a previous year is achieved when 2 years of data have been collected using a URL data collection methodology and, a preschool repeater indicator applied.

Episodes of Workers

24 The episode counts of workers include paid contact workers delivering preschool programs. A uniform and consistent identifier for workers was not collected and consequently worker data is output only as episode counts.

Preschool Program Fees

25 Fee schedules can differ between programs, organisations and jurisdictions. Fees may be charged daily, weekly, annually, per session or per term. If data is collected at any level other than weekly, the weekly fee is derived from the collected fee and fee schedule. Fees charged are usually based on the number of hours of a preschool program a child is enrolled to receive.

26 For aggregate data, information on fees per child is based on a service's schedule of fixed fees, for example a charge of $150 per full term. For URL data, information on fees are collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one enrolment at a preschool program their fees are calculated by summing the fees for all of their enrolments (episodes).

27 In 2014 preschool fees were unable to be identified separately from LDC fees in the CCMS. Preschool fees for enrolments in CCMS were calculated by proportioning the preschool hours to the total hours at the LDC centre for each enrolment. This assumes that a fee structure for a preschool program at a LDC centre is the same as the fee structure for non-preschool program care at the same LDC centre.

28 Data on fees are rounded to the nearest dollar for publication.


29 For aggregate data, information on hours is collected at the service provider level. Hours per child are derived based on the number of enrolments at that service provider.

30 For URL data, information on hours is collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one enrolment at a preschool program their hours are calculated by summing the hours for all of their enrolments (episodes).

31 Data on hours are rounded to the nearest hour for publication. Hours less than 1 but more than 0 are rounded to 1 hour.


32 The preliminary ERP figures presented in this publication are published numbers based on the 2011 Census. The ABS has provided these numbers as indicative only. They have been included here to support comparative reporting that has been performed using the 2011 ERP time series. In the Collection, children enrolled and attending preschool programs in Jervis Bay have been included in statistics for the ACT. The Other Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included in statistics for WA. Official ERP numbers for WA and ACT do not include Other Territories.

ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION (a), Single Year Of Age, as at June 2014


3 Year old
96 425
72 369
62 456
19 736
33 633
6 194
3 636
5 142
299 613
4 Year old
97 590
74 097
63 785
20 091
34 004
6 254
3 726
5 213
304 792
5 Year old
96 972
73 220
64 304
20 243
33 609
6 505
3 587
5 028
303 497
6 Year old
96 258
72 793
64 015
20 084
33 940
6 509
3 679
4 800
302 110

(a) ERP by state and age as published on 18 December 2014 in Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2014 (cat. no. 3101.0). The Census base for ERP is 2011 and figures are not comparable to figures based on the 2006 Census
(b) Australia total includes Other Territories


33 Statistics in this publication are presented according to Sector, Statistical Geography and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA).


34 The Sector classification used in this publication is a combination of the service provider characteristics Service Activity Type and Management Type, which are part of the ECEC NMDS. Where a child is enrolled in multiple preschool programs, the child's sector is determined by the characteristics of all the providers at which the child enrolled.

35 Tables presented with this classification assign episodes and unique child counts to states and territories according to the geographic location of the service provider.

36 A small number of service providers in Qld were described as having a service activity type of occasional care and have been classified as LDCs with a preschool program.

Statistical Geography

37 The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) is the ABS' new geographical framework, which came into effect from July 2011. The ASGS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). For the 2014 Collection, data have been classified to the ASGS Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1). Accordingly, data may be output from the 2014 Collection using aggregations of ASGS SA1s and higher statistical areas.

38 The digital boundaries, codes and labels for each of these regions can be downloaded from the ABS website free of charge <https://www.abs.gov.au/geography>.

39 The Remoteness Structure within the ASGS divides each state and territory into areas on the basis of their relative access to services. The classes of Remoteness Area (RA) are:
  • Major Cities of Australia
  • Inner Regional Australia
  • Outer Regional Australia
  • Remote Australia
  • Very Remote Australia
  • Migratory - Offshore - Shipping
  • No usual address.

40 For more information please refer to the online publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

41 The statistics presented using RAs in this publication have been assigned using the child's usual residence. Where a child's usual residence is not stated, the main service provider's geography is used as a proxy. If the service provider's geography is not stated, the counts of children are included in the totals. It is possible for states or territories to have a zero count in a certain RA class; the Northern Territory does not contain a Major City or an Inner Regional classification, Tasmania does not contain a Major City, and ACT does not contain Remote or Very Remote classifications.

42 The quantity of records for which RA was derived, using service provider geography, can be identified from the Not Stated SEIFA IRSD data.

Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA)

43 The SEIFA is a product developed especially for those interested in the assessment of the welfare of Australian communities. SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census of Population and Housing information. 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. Quintiles are calculated by ordering the scores for all areas from lowest to highest, with the lowest 20% of areas given a quintile number of 1 and so on, up to the highest 20% of areas which are given a quintile number of 5. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measuring, for example, income or unemployment alone. The SEIFA index used for the Collection is the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD). Where a child's geography was not stated, the SEIFA IRSD is published as Not Stated.

44 For more information on SEIFA please see the Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0).


45 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 ensure that any statistical information about individuals cannot be derived from published data.

46 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values and summary variables. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.

47 After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.

48 The introduction of perturbation in this publication ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as TableBuilder.


49 For more information on these Collection measurement concepts see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

50 For more information on data collection instructions and guidelines see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2014 (available on request).

51 Additional statistics are available from Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) using the TableBuilder facility.

52 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 (NIRS) on 1300 135 070.