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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Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, is compiled from the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection. The experimental estimates collated from the National ECEC Collection are derived from administrative data provided by state and territory government departments with responsibility for early childhood education and care. A comprehensive quality declaration for each state and territory can be found in the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection Manual (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


In 2008, the importance of education in the early years of a child's development was formally acknowledged through the Council of Australian Government's endorsement of a new National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE). The National ECEC Collection was conducted for the first time in 2010 as a data improvement project under the NP ECE and the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care. The aim of the National ECEC Collection is to provide comparable state and territory statistics on early childhood education. Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 presents experimental estimates for the first time on counts of children enrolled and attending preschool programs and episodes of enrolment and attendance at preschool programs across Australia.

The scope of the collection consists of all establishments delivering an early childhood education (ECE) program. An ECE program is defined as a structured, play based learning program primarily aimed at children in the year before they commence full-time schooling, and usually delivered by a qualified teacher on a sessional basis. This is irrespective of the type of institution that provides it, or whether it is government funded or privately provided.

The National ECEC Collection includes child level, teacher level and service provider level statistics from all in-scope preschool programs. Child care services that do not operate a preschool program are out of scope.

Child data

        All children enrolled in a preschool program, at an in-scope service provider, are within scope. To be considered as enrolled, the child must be between 3 and 6 years old inclusive, have been offered a place at the preschool program and be 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.
Teacher data
        Persons in scope of the collection are those who are engaged in the provision of a preschool program, at an in-scope early childhood education establishment. Teacher level data were not published as part of the 2010 National ECEC Collection, however this data is expected to be used in future releases. In 2010, teacher data as collected as part of the National Workforce Census, which was an initiative of the Australian Government in partnership with state and territory governments. Teacher data will be further developed in 2011.
Service provider data
        A service provider is considered to be in-scope if it is delivering an in-scope preschool program.


The National ECEC Collection was conducted for the first time in 2010 and will continue to be conducted annually. In 2010 the recommended collection date was 6 August with a reference period of 2 August to 6 August. Not all jurisdictions were able to provide data for the first Friday in August and some jurisdictions preferred to incorporate different reference periods, to better reflect their attendance schedule. The first Friday in August will be the collection date for future collections however the reference period will be either one or two weeks. If jurisdictions choose a one week reference period, it will be the 1st week of August (Monday through Friday). If jurisdictions choose a two week reference period, it will incorporate the 1st week of August (Monday through Friday), however the second week can be either the 2nd week of August, or the last week in July. Information from the 2010 collection was released within 8 months of the reference period.


Data for the National ECEC Collection have been compiled according to the national standards outlined in the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) in order to maximise consistency between state and territory data collections. Complete alignment with these standards has not been achieved by all jurisdictions due to the different collection methodologies and data capabilities which are unique to each jurisdiction. This has resulted in data not being as comparable as it would be if the collection methods were aligned across jurisdictions. In addition, some jurisdictions were not able to provide the ABS with certain data elements as specified in the ECEC NMDS.

Data limitations for the 2010 collection include:
    • Lack of comprehensive coverage of the preschool sector, for example limited non-government / long day care coverage.
    • Unit record level data not currently available for all jurisdictions.
    • Duplicate records not identifiable within all collections.
    • Differences in data element collection methodologies and inability to collect all data elements in line with the ECEC NMDS.
    • Differences in collection dates, reference periods and age reference dates.

For more information on the collection methodologies and current data limitations for each state and territory, see the National ECEC Collection Manual (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website, <http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/388509>.


Due to the differing levels of coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the ECEC NMDS across jurisdictions, the data presented in Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia are not comparable across all jurisdictions.

The differences in the scope and counting rules for the National ECEC Collection mean that the data presented in the publication are not strictly comparable to data published in other national or state/territory publications.

As this is a first release publication there are no comparable previous releases.


The National ECEC Collection Manual (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) contains detailed information on the data sources, counting rules, terminology and other technical aspects associated with the National ECEC statistics. The manual is available free for download from the Related Information tab.

Please refer to the Downloads tab for the products that are available for free from this collection.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.