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   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All  



In 2012, South Australia (SA) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the Annual Census of Children’s Services (ACCS).

Annual Census of Children’s Services

Institutional Environment
The organisation responsible for the ACCS is SA Department for Education and Child Development (DECD). Data for the ACCS were collected under the Education Act 1972 (SA) and the Education Regulations 1997 (SA).

Information gathered by the ACCS included patterns of service usage and characteristics of children and families. The data were required by the SA government for forward planning and the analysis of needs and gaps in current service provision. The data from this collection enabled reporting across the SA early childhood education and care sector for a variety of reporting requirements.

Scope: The scope of the 2012 ACCS included children aged 3 to 5 years (extending to 6 years old for a small number of children who were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, or were under the guardianship of the Minister for Families and Communities) attending government managed or government funded preschools, including integrated centres, and funded non-government community managed child care centres with a preschool program.

The scope of data provided on workers included all paid workers employed in government managed or government funded preschools, including integrated centres, and funded non-government child care centres and schools with a preschool program. Data on workers includes temporary relief teachers employed in these centres during the reference period. Workers were included irrespective of whether they delivered a preschool program during the reference period.

Coverage: In 2012 the ACCS achieved full coverage of all government managed and government funded preschools, including Independent and Catholic schools with funded preschool programs, and funded non-government community managed child care centres with a preschool program. The numbers of non-government community managed LDCs with a preschool program that receive government funding has grown steadily.

Participation in the ACCS was voluntary for unfunded Independent and Catholic school managed preschool providers. It was also voluntary for unfunded community managed providers and unfunded Long Day Care (LDC) centres. Therefore the ACCS did not achieve full coverage of these sectors due to levels of service non-response.

Data collection methods: The 2012 ACCS collected URL data for the following statistical entities:

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

The ACCS is an annual collection and in 2012 was undertaken on the 3 August 2012, with a reference period of 23 July to 3 August 2012. This reference fortnight was adopted by SA DECD to reflect the preschool delivery model in SA. Information collected during this reference fortnight was then derived by SA DECD to a one week reference period to enable comparison with other jurisdictions for the National ECEC Collection.

The data processing and validation stages took approximately 2 to 3 months after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

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

In 2012, the ACCS collected data through a spreadsheet based collection for non-government providers and a web-based preschool administration system for government providers. The web-based format collected information using a URL data collection methodology. For the non-government providers that submitted data via spreadsheet templates, data were also supplied at child unit record level, compliant with NMDS Standards. The ‘Early Years System’ (EYS) is the web-based system in SA preschools for the management of preschool enrolments, attendances and fees. Training of service providers commenced in 2011 and continued throughout 2012.

The EYS staffing module was pre-populated with teaching qualifications from the SA DECD Human Resources administrative system prior to the ACCS being conducted. Staff completing the ACCS checked the qualifications listed in the EYS and updated them if required.

SA DECD collated both on-line and spreadsheet census information within a temporary data repository known as the Data Administration Centre (DAC). Service provider details are stored and maintained in the location services system (LSS). ECEC worker data are stored and maintained in the VALEO Human Resources Management System at unit record level. Data for the 2012 National ECEC Collection were sourced from these databases. A data validation database was utilised by SA DECD to ensure the quality of the data collected. Data validations were performed at the service provider, child and staff levels.

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2012 ACCS were comparable with 2011 data. Due to developments and subsequent data improvements. Some data may not be comparable to 2011 data.

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 accurately identify matched episode records for a child, both within a collection cycle and between years.

Children in a Preschool Program in 2012:
      For SA, counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in 2012 were able to be derived as data were collected using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

Children in a Preschool Program in 2012 and in the Year before Full-time Schooling:
      As SA had two years of data collected using a URL methodology and had a child/client database, counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in the year before full-time schooling were able to be derived. While child level data items were collected in compliance with 2012 NMDS standards, due to rolling student intakes in SA, it is recognised that a small proportion of children could not be reported in the YBFS cohort in the 2012 ABS publication tables. This can occur for children who were 4 years of age at the time of commencing preschool in term 3 (that is those who had their 4th Birthday on or before 23 July 2012), but were 3 years of age as at 1 July 2012. These children may commence their formal schooling in Term 3 2013 and therefore would not be included in the 2013 National ECEC Collection.

SA provided a range of information to assist in the reporting of data, such as the 2012 ACCS Booklet and Coding Instructions. Key material was provided in the form of manuals and fact sheets to support the correct interpretation and explanation of concepts. Training in using the Early Years System (EYS) for DECD preschools was ongoing throughout 2012. No training was provided in use of the temporary spreadsheet collection templates for non-government services, however they were designed to be intuitive for users.

Data sourced from the ACCS 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.

Information Source
The information contained within this report has been sourced from SA DECD in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available on the SA DECD website http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/.

Previous PageNext Page