4240.0.55.001 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/03/2013   
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In 2012, Queensland (Qld.) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the ‘Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census’ (ECECSC), which collected data using both Aggregate level and Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodologies.

Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census

Institutional Environment
The organisation responsible for the 2012 ECECSC is Qld. Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE). Data for the 2012 ECECSC were collected under the Child Care Act 2002 (Qld.) and the Education and Care Service National Law 2011 (Qld.).

Data collected from the ECECSC enabled Qld. DETE to report on a variety of matters, such as the performance of the early childhood education and care sector, to the Qld. and Australian Governments, and the community. The data were used to provide evidence for policy and program development and planning and to monitor outcomes of early childhood initiatives such as the department’s Workforce Action Plan and the implementation of the Education and Care Services National Law.

Scope: The 2012 ECECSC included all children who were enrolled in a licensed or approved child care service or pre-prep program provided by a government school. This included children that were enrolled in Long Day Care, Kindergarten, Pre-Prep in schools, Limited Hours Care, Family Day Care and School Aged Care Services at the time of the ECECSC.

The scope for data provided on workers included all staff, both paid and volunteer engaged in licensed child care services that consented to their information being provided. Only primary contact teachers were considered in-scope for the National ECEC Collection.

Coverage: The 2012 ECECSC achieved complete coverage of approved service providers in receipt of Qld. Government funding. Data were also collected from unfunded providers, however their participation in the ECECSC was voluntary.

Data collection methods: The 2012 ECECSC collected data for the following statistical entities:
Funded approved programs (URL data collection methodology):

  • Child: data at the child record level
  • Service provider organisation: data at the service provider record level
  • Worker: data at the worker record level.

Unfunded providers (Aggregate level data collection methodology):
  • Child: totals for children enrolled and attending preschool programs at the service provider record level
  • Service provider organisation: data at the service provider record level
  • Worker: data at the worker record level.

The ECECSC is an annual collection and in 2012 was undertaken in the week commencing 30 July. For all service providers excluding community preschools, the reference period was 30 July to 5 August 2012. For community preschools, the reference period was 23 July to 5 August 2012. Information collected within this reference fortnight was adopted for these service providers to reflect their preschool delivery model. This reference fortnight was then derived by Qld. to a one week reference period to enable comparison with other service providers across Qld. and other jurisdictions for the National ECEC Collection.

Completion of the data processing and validation stages occurred in the 3 months following the collection, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Data sourced from the ECECSC for the purposes of the National ECEC Collection are published by the ABS in Preschool Education, Australia, 2012 (cat. no 4240.0).

For the 2012 ECECSC, data were collected from service providers via an online survey tool.

A limited number of services supplied information through paper-based forms that were equivalent to the on-line census.

As part of the internal validation process for 2012, Qld. DETE included explanatory notes within the on-line census to assist service providers with definitions and responses. Edit checks were built into the online census, which ensured that valid data were supplied. Data supplied by service providers also underwent a range of validation and edit checks post enumeration to ensure that the information was complete, internally consistent and fell within fixed known parameters for relevant questions. During the data validation process, where information was not supplied, data were substituted from other parts of the service’s data supply. Only in certain circumstances were service providers contacted to collect missing information.

An Imputation process was undertaken by Qld. DETE for non-responses by unfunded services in 2012, incorporating historical and donor methodology. No adjustment for any known or predicted undercount was undertaken.

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2012 ECECSC were not directly comparable with 2011 data as the proportions of URL data and Aggregate data were not consistent between years. The number of services taking up their funding entitlement to deliver a kindergarten program (URL data) has increased considerably and is expected to continue as Qld. progresses towards universal access. This means the number of unfunded services (Aggregate data) is continually decreasing and therefore no further legislation change to collect URL data from unfunded services has been pursued. Consequently, Qld. data are comparable at the child episode level only.

In 2012 there were more service providers in scope for the Qld. collection, as a result the episode counts have increased in comparison to 2011. Care needs to be taken when interpreting episode/childe data across years from Qld.

Specific data elements which were collected using methods which did not align with the ECEC National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) specifications are outlined below and should be taken into account when analysing the data collected. An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the ECEC NMDS specifications. Deviations between the 2012 ECEC NMDS and data collected from the Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census, are outlined in table 6.4.1 and table 6.4.2.

6.4.1 DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE 2012 ECEC URL NMDS – Funded Approved Programs

Data Element Details of Deviation

Statistical linkage key (Child)There were quality issues with construction of statistical linkage keys for some children.

6.4.2 DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE 2012 ECEC Aggregate NMDS – Unfunded Providers

Data ElementDetails of Deviation

Number of children enrolled in a preschool programThis data element could not be disaggregated by the child level data element ‘Sex’. ‘Sex’ was an additional data element request for 2012.

Number of children attending a preschool program

Number of Indigenous children enrolled in a preschool programThis data element could not be disaggregated by the child level data element ‘Sex’ and was only available at the level of ‘Indigenous’ or ‘non-Indigenous’.

Number of Indigenous children attending a preschool program

Weekly tuition fee schedule amountFees and hours were not included from Qld’s aggregate collection due to data quality concerns. The use of Qld fee and hour statistics needs to be treated with care acknowledging that fee and hour data does not represent comprehensive coverage.

Total hours of preschool program attended

Counts of Children:
It is possible for a child to be concurrently enrolled in and attending two or more preschool programs and attend preschool across years. In order to address collection requirements, it is important to be able to identify accurately matched episode records for a child both within a collection cycle and between years.

Children in a Preschool Program in 2012 and in the Year before Full-time Schooling:
      For Qld., counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in 2012 and in the year before full-time schooling, were not able to be derived as data were reported using a combination of URL and Aggregate methodologies. As a result, data for Qld. could only be presented in terms of episodes of enrolment and attendance in preschool programs.

Qld. DETE provided a range of information to assist in the collection and reporting of data, such as explanatory notes for providers. The explanatory notes, together with printable copies of ECECSC collection forms, were available from the Qld. DETE website: http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/office/2012census.html.

Data sourced from the ECECSC for the 2012 National ECEC Collection are published at the state and territory level in Preschool Education, Australia, 2012 (cat. no 4240.0) on the ABS website. Data from the ECECSC are also published in sector fact sheets and various other forms on the Qld. DETE website.

Information Source
The information contained within this repost has been sourced from Qld. DETE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available at the Qld. DETE website http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/office/2012census.html.

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