4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
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This document was added 08/03/2017.



APPENDIX 3 JURISDICTIONAL DATA QUALITY STATEMENTS

The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC) uses national data standards to ensure the quality and consistency of data collected by jurisdictions for the collection (hereafter referred to as NECECC standards). The Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) was developed to provide the framework to support this data collection. The most recent ECEC NMDS (2015) set the NECECC standards for data collected in 2015 and 2016.

Where a jurisdiction was unable to align their data collection methods with the NECECC standards, the specific deviations were detailed in the jurisdictional data quality statements below. This information is made available so impacts on data comparability between jurisdictions may be better understood.

Further information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW website http://meteor.aihw.gov.au.


AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

In 2016 the Australian Government was responsible for the provision of data from the Child Care Management System (CCMS) for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC).

CCMS collects information on child care services and the children and families that use them. It is the Australian government's primary mechanism for managing child care payments. CCMS is also able to collect information from Long Day Care (LDC) services related to the delivery of early childhood education programs (ECEP) - also referred to as 'preschool' or 'kindergarten'.

CHILD CARE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Institutional Environment

While the Australian Government Department of Education and Training has portfolio responsibility for child care, responsibility for the operation of, and within, the CCMS is shared with the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and Departments of Human Services (DHS).

CCMS data is collected for the purposes of administering Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) payments under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Cwlth) and A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cwlth). Payments are administered by the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS).

Relevance

The CCMS is a national administrative system that enables child care services to exchange child care information online with the Australian Government to enable the payment of CCB and CCR, on behalf of parents, to approved Long Day Care (LDC) services. It also provides information about the national supply and usage of child care. All approved child care services must also use CCMS, but for the purposes of this Data Quality Statement, reference will be confined to LDCs.

LDCs must regularly access the CCMS, through software developed by registered third-party software providers, and record child demographic, enrolment and attendance information. While the CCMS was not initially designed to collect information about the delivery of Early Childhood Education Programmes (ECEP) in LDC settings, it has been enhanced with a 'preschool program component' to enable the provision of information on whether a child is attending an ECEP, and the hours they attended.

Scope: In 2016, the scope of the CCMS extract for the NECECC included:

  1. all children aged 3 to 6 years from all LDCs in CCMS were considered to be receiving a quality early childhood education program in accordance with the National Quality Framework,
  2. the primary source of hours data (enrolled and attended) was drawn from LDC's standard data instead of using the Preschool Module data (with subsequent enhancement from the LDC's standard hour data) as per previous years, therefore no imputation was necessary.

Coverage: All CCB-approved LDCs are required to provide data related to the administration of CCB and CCR (such as enrolments and attendances) through the CCMS. Services not approved for CCB are not included in CCMS information (such as state-run preschools and budget-based funding services).

Data collection methods: CCMS data (at the URL level for children and service level for LDCs) is drawn from the 'preschool program component' and the LDC's CCB and CCR reporting using a URL collection methodology. The utilisation of LDC attendance and enrolment information, in conjunction with information provided through the 'preschool program component', enables the Australian Government to provide the most thorough and accurate extract as possible.

Timeliness

Initial CCMS data for the reference week was extracted around the end of September 2016. Additional data validation, integrity and cleaning checks were carried out prior to the submission of a final CCMS extract to the ABS around 2 months after the collection date.

Accuracy

LDCs are required by A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cwlth) legislation, to submit certain records (weekly enrolments and attendance records etc.), for all children in attendance at the service. Records details, such child dates of birth and reference numbers as well as service client IDs, are checked and cross-referenced. This ensures there can only be one current enrolment at a service for the same parent/guardian and child combination.

This results in:
  • high accuracy for child demographic details such as name, date of birth and address information etc. and the child's associated attendance records
  • medium to high accuracy for children's ECEP attendance, as the provision of this data is not required for the payment of CCB, and not all services use the same software to record the information into CCMS, which may influence the ECEP information recorded.

When a child is registered at an LDC the parent/guardian is given an opportunity to identify them as Indigenous, although it is not a compulsory requirement of registration. As CCMS also includes family payment information from DSS and DHS, the Australian Government may cross-reference the registration information provided by the LDC against other sources to ensure that accurate statistics on indigenous children are captured and provided to the NECECC.

In the CCMS families may choose to identify as Indigenous, data on non-indigeneity is not collected. The Indigenous indicator reflects whether a child’s family has chosen to identify as Indigenous. Children from families that did not identify as Indigenous were classified as ‘non-Indigenous’ rather than ‘unknown/not stated’ for the publication as per previous years.

Coherence

The collection of child URL data ensures duplications are minimised and the total child count is as robust as systematically possible. Deviations between the NECECC standards and CCMS data collected are outlined in the table below:

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Preschool program fees chargedData on preschool fees are not collected separately, but are derived from out of pocket Long Day Care fees and pro-rated on preschool hours enrolled/LDC hours enrolled.

Preschool program received from a qualified teacherCCMS does not record which staff member delivered ECEP or where LDCs may have waivers in place. It is assumed that all LDCs are delivering ECEP in accordance with requirements contained within the National Quality Framework.

Interpretability

Emails prompting LDC service providers to complete the preschool component of CCMS and outlining the definitions as per the NECECC standards were sent prior to, and during the reference week.

Accessibility

Privacy and confidentiality requirements within family assistance law limit the publication of CCMS data at certain granularities. De-identified aggregate data (which includes CCMS data) are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website. A selection of CCMS data is published quarterly and is available on the Australian Government MyChild website www.mychild.gov.au.

Information Source

The information in this report has been sourced from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training website www.education.gov.au.


NEW SOUTH WALES

In 2016, New South Wales (NSW) was responsible for two data collections in relation to preschool programs, both of which collected data using a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology:
  • NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE): 'Government School Census'
  • NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE): 'Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Preschool Census'

In January 2014, the NSW Government introduced a new preschool funding model. Although the nature of preschool program delivery in NSW has not directly changed, the new funding model targets funding to children enrolled in community preschools who are aged 4 years or over, plus 3 year olds from low income families or Aboriginal backgrounds (determined respectively by the presentation of an Australian Government Health Care Card bearing the child's name, or by the child's family self-identifying as being from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background). This is in contrast to the previous funding model under which preschools attracted funding for all children enrolled in community preschools. The new preschool funding model was introduced to better target funding to children and families who need it most, and to better align with the NSW Government's Universal Access objectives. Over time, it is expected to result in increased preschool participation of children in the year before full-time schooling.

A) GOVERNMENT SCHOOL CENSUS

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the Government School Census was NSW DoE. Data for the Government School Census were collected under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

Relevance

The data collected by NSW DoE enabled reporting across the NSW government schools sector for a variety of reporting requirements, as well as to measure progress against Australian Government ECEC targets and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reforms.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Government School Census included all children aged 3 to 5 years old who were enrolled in a preschool program or an Early Intervention class at a government school in NSW. Children are eligible to enrol at a government preschool if they turn 4 on or before 31 July of that year. Priority is given to children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are unable to access other children's services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from families who experience financial hardship. While the majority of children are aged 4 or 5, if there is spare capacity, places may be offered to 3 year olds.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid primary contact teachers and School Learning Support Officers delivering preschool programs at government schools in NSW. Only primary contact teachers were considered in-scope for the National ECEC Collection.

Children enrolled in an Early Intervention class at a NSW government school have been included in the Government School Census since 2012. Early intervention classes provide early childhood education in a preschool setting for children with a disability.

Coverage: All government schools in NSW participated in the Government School Census.

Data collection methods: The 2016 Government Schools Census collected data using a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Government School Census is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken on 5 August, with a two week reference period of 1 to 12 August. Completion of the data processing and validation stage took approximately 3 months after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

All NSW DoE government school-based preschools were required to participate in the Government School Census by completing an online census form. There were three sections to the preschool component of the Government School Census:
  • general preschool data (e.g. number of children enrolled, number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)
  • class or group data (overall session details for service and individual attendance by child, along with daily fees paid, date of birth, sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, language background other than English, refugee status, disability status, health care card status and suburb)
  • teacher data (e.g. qualifications and length of employment).

Information on Indigenous status was provided by a child's parent or carer on the standard NSW Government preschool enrolment form. In 2015 the Indigenous status question on the form was changed to match the standard national question, with users required to select one of four answers corresponding to the first 4 values of the ECEC NMDS item Person-Indigenous status. The corresponding Indigenous status question on the Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) system matched the standard national question. Schools were required to answer the question by selecting a single value from an on-screen drop down list. The values available for selection comprised the first 4 values of the ECEC NMDS as well as a supplementary value Unknown/Not Provided to accommodate instances where the parent or carer did not provide this information on the enrolment form. Several records for school-based preschools did not distinguish between Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children. Records for these children were coded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin not further defined.

During the collection period, NSW DoE extracted children's details from the ERN system. Preschool teachers checked enrolment data, allocated children to class groups and entered enrolment details for any children missing from the ERN. Teachers also entered additional information, such as Health Care Card status, fees paid and attendance, and then electronically submitted the census to the secure DoE Collection portal.

NSW DoE ensured that all preschools submitted compulsory data. Preschools were notified about the data collection through the regular Principals' newsletter and reminder faxes. Detailed instructions on collecting and entering the data using the secure DoE Collections portal were available to preschools at all times during the survey period. The online census contained a number of validation rules to prevent inconsistencies and omissions. During the data collection period, preschool support workers could phone NSW DoE to clarify counting rules and data collection procedures. In addition, data anomaly reports were generated identifying problems such as incorrect age, low attendance or duplicate children. All anomalies were checked and data corrected if required. Signoff was required from all Principals whose school provided a preschool program.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2016 Government School Census were comparable with data collected in 2015, as both collections were undertaken using a URL data collection methodology. Children enrolled in an Early Intervention class at a NSW government school were included in the Government School Census for the first time in 2012. 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 NECECC standards.

Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the Government Schools Census are outlined in the table below.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Address line (Child)Full child address information was not collected for a small proportion of children; only the suburb/town/locality name. This impacted on the ability to determine child disadvantage status and remoteness classifications, which affected comparability across jurisdictions.

Early childhood education program hours enrolled per week (Child)Derived as most government preschools operate 6 hours per day. The system allows enrolment to be entered as half day or full day.

Early childhood education program hours attended per week (Child)Derived as most government preschools operate 6 hours per day. The system allows attendance to be entered as half day or full day.


Interpretability

NSW DoE preschools were notified about the Government Schools Census through the regular Principals' newsletter and reminder faxes. Detailed instructions on collecting and entering data using the secure NSW DoE Collections portal were available to preschools at all times during the collection period.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Government School Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.


B) EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE (ECEC) PRESCHOOL CENSUS

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the 2016 Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Preschool Census is NSW DoE. Data for the ECEC Preschool Census was collected under Funding Specifications, which are contracts with each service provider outlining the terms of renewable funding under the Early Childhood Education Grants Program. These preschools are regulated under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

Relevance

The data collected by NSW DoE was used for state government reporting commitments and to assist with the evaluation and planning of service provision. For preschools, the information obtained was used to determine funding for the following year. The data were also used for a variety of State and Commonwealth reporting requirements, as well as to measure progress against Commonwealth ECEC targets and COAG reforms.

Scope: The scope of the ECEC Preschool Census included all children aged 0 to 6 years enrolled in a preschool program regulated and funded by NSW DoE. Enrolment priority is given to children who are in their year before full-time schooling, children who are at risk of harm and children from disadvantaged backgrounds (i.e. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, language background other than English, children from low income families and children with a disability).

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid workers employed in service providers that were regulated and funded by NSW DoE.

Coverage: Participation in the ECEC Preschool Census was mandatory for NSW Government-funded preschools. The collection included NSW Government-funded (but not necessarily NSW Government-run) preschool services, including preschools operated by Catholic and Independent schools, preschools operated by local governments, and community-managed preschools. Preschool programs not funded by the NSW Government, including some preschools delivered in non-government schools, were not in scope of the collection. These services are not excluded from applying for NSW Government funding, provided that they meet eligibility criteria, consistent with the objectives of universal access. As and when any of these services do enter into a funding agreement with the NSW Government under the Early Childhood Education Grants Program, they are thereafter required to participate in the ECEC Preschool Census.

The majority of preschool programs in NSW are delivered by commercial long day care (LDC) centres that do not receive funding from NSW DoE. As a result, no data was collected from these services by the NSW Government as part of the ECEC Preschool Census. Data on commercial LDCs were collected by the Australian Government using the Child Care Management System (CCMS).

Service providers that were registered for the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) were requested to provide information in the ECEC Preschool Census only for children who did not receive the CCB or the CCR.

Data collection methods: The 2016 ECEC Preschool Census used a URL collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ECEC Preschool Census is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken from 18 July to 28 August, with a reference period of 1 August to 12 August. A reference fortnight was adopted to reflect the preschool delivery model in NSW whereby delivery of a preschool program can vary between weeks. Data collected in the reference fortnight was then derived by NSW DoE to a one week reference period for data items expressed in units of time, e.g. Child-early childhood education program hours enrolled. The data validation and processing stages were completed approximately three months after the collection date, at which time the data was delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

In 2016 DoE transferred the census collection function to its Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS). ECCMS is the online system used by DoE and service providers to manage early childhood service contracts and funding. The integration of the census function into ECCMS provided a number of benefits compared to the previous system:
  • improved data security through use of the Australian Government's AUSkey system to authenticate users
  • online management of user roles and permissions to control access to various features and functions
  • improved screen designs, workflow, system-based validations and logging of user activity
  • a data structure based on a service location entity to accommodate the delivery model for mobile services
  • re-specification of data items to align with NMDS definitions, measurement scales and reporting obligations.

There are five main sections to the census component of ECCMS:
  • Service and location details (drawn from core ECCMS and not editable by users)
  • Service location operating times
  • Details of early childhood learning and care sessions delivered at each service location
  • Individual child details, e.g. name, address, daily fees, low income status, session enrolment and attendance
  • Individual worker details, e.g. qualification field and level, main role, main work activity.

Information on Indigenous status was provided to the community preschool by a child's parent or carer in accordance with the record keeping requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. However, the wording of the Indigenous status question and values available to select as an answer varied between preschools. The corresponding Indigenous status question in ECCMS matched the standard national question. Services were required to answer the question by selecting a single value from an on-screen drop down list. The values available for selection comprised the first 4 values of the NMDS as well as the supplementary value Not Stated to accommodate instances where the parent or carer did not provide this information to the Service.

After completing data entry, and prior to data submission, a user with a defined level of authority must enter a declaration that entered data is correct. Following data submission DoE undertook a data validation phase whereby submitted data were cross-checked for consistency with service operational characteristics and past submissions. Where large variations or unusual data was apparent, service providers were contacted to confirm data accuracy. If data was incorrect the census was reopened to allow the user to correct and resubmit the data. All data validation rules were coded into SQL procedures, and DoE maintained an anomalies database to track communications, and the status of potential errors.

Coherence

Many aspects of the data collected in the 2016 ECEC Preschool Census remained comparable to 2015 collection as both were undertaken using similar URL data collection methodologies. The two main enhancements to the 2016 collection compared to the previous year were (i) the collection of all data items at the lowest (most granular) level of the service delivery hierarchy, i.e. service location, and (ii) the introduction of a 'session' entity to capture daily start and end times of early childhood education and care delivery as well as each child's individual pattern of enrolment and attendance over the two week reference period.

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 NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the ECEC Preschool Census, are outlined in the below table.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Address line (Child)Full child address information was not collected for a small proportion of children; only the suburb/town/locality name.

Early childhood education program hours attended per week (Child)Derived as the sum of hours the child attended early childhood education and care sessions at the service. Data adjusted to a reference week.

Early childhood education program hours enrolled per week (Child)Derived as the sum of hours the child was enrolled in early childhood education and care sessions at the service. Data adjusted to a reference week.

Early childhood education program delivered by a qualified teacher indicator
(Service Provider)
Derived. A service was considered to have delivered an early childhood education program by a qualified teacher if there was at least one worker at the service recorded as a qualified early childhood teacher.


Interpretability

NSW provided a range of information and support to service providers throughout all stages of the collection. These included:
  • a pilot of the new ECCMS census functions in late 2015 involving approximately 50 services
  • regular emails to services in the lead up to and during the collection phase
  • a webinar hosted by DoE staff on the 21 July 2016 attended by more than 100 services
  • a dedicated census website providing summary information, portal access and links to resources and contact information.

Detailed instructions on the process of data entry, including explanations and examples of concepts, were provided online within the Census application via summary 'tooltips' and extensive online help. DoE also provided a separate Preschool Census Quick Reference Guide 2016. During the 6 week collection phase service providers could also phone a dedicated 1300 phone number and email for assistance.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ECEC Preschool Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from the NSW DoE in consultation with the ABS.


VICTORIA

In 2016, Victoria was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the 2016 Kindergarten Census.

2016 KINDERGARTEN CENSUS

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the 2016 Kindergarten Census was the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET). Data were collected in accordance with Funding and Service Agreement requirements.

Relevance

The 2016 Kindergarten Census was conducted to enable reporting of key data across the Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care sector, as well as to collect data to meet national reporting requirements.

Scope: The scope of the 2016 Kindergarten Census included all children aged 3 to 6 years of age who were enrolled during the reference period in DET funded kindergarten programs for children in the year prior to school. The only data for 3 year-olds are the children who are aged 3 years when they are attending the kindergarten program in the year before school.

Coverage: Participation in the collection was mandatory for service providers with a current Funding and Service Agreement with DET, therefore full coverage of kindergarten programs delivered through these service providers was achieved. Funded services comprise the vast majority of kindergarten service providers in Victoria. A small number of Long Day Care (LDC) centres operating a kindergarten program were not funded by DET and as a result, no data were collected from these services.

Data collection methods: The 2016 Kindergarten Census used a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The 2016 Kindergarten Census reference period was 1 to 6 August. The collection commenced on 15th August and was conducted for approximately 5 weeks. Data processing and validation for the 2016 Kindergarten Census took approximately 3 months after the collection date after which time the data was submitted to the ABS.

Accuracy

Data was collected from services via DET's online Kindergarten Information Management (KIM) system. Services provided data for the 2016 Kindergarten Census through a workflow which included validation and completeness checks.

As part of the Kindergarten Census, data is collected on the indigenous status of children. This is a mandatory question which must be answered for each child record. Parents or carers can choose not to disclose the status of the child.

Coherence

Victoria has had a URL collection methodology in place since 2011, which means that data collected in 2016 is comparable with previous years to 2011.

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 NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the 2016 Kindergarten Census are outlined in the table below.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Fees charged (Child)Fee data collected from Long Day Care (LDC) services relates to the total LDC enrolment rather than the actual kindergarten fee and kindergarten hours.

Preschool program enrolment hours (Child)Data were not available for LDCs. Attendance hours were used as a proxy measure for enrolment hours for these services.

Management type (Service provider)The legal entity status of the funded organisation reported by each service provider (excluding Independent schools) was used as a proxy measure for management type. This may not have produced consistent classifications of management type for all service providers. Independent schools were categorised using the ‘funding status’ flag in the DET funding system and assigned a management type of Code 6: Independent school, regardless of the legal entity status of the funded organisation.


Interpretability

Extensive explanatory information was provided in DET's online KIM system and on the DET website. If service providers required clarification about the collection, they were also able to contact their regional office or the KIM helpdesk.

DET provides information on funding criteria and data collection responsibilities in the publication 'The Kindergarten Guide', which is available on the DET website http://www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/providers/funding/Pages/kinderfundingcriteria.aspx.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the 2016 Kindergarten Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from DET Victoria in consultation with the ABS.


QUEENSLAND

In 2016, Queensland (Qld) conducted the annual Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census (ECECSC), which collected childcare enrolment data, workforce data, and preschool program and enrolment 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 2016 ECECSC is Qld Department of Education and Training (DET). Data for the 2016 ECECSC were collected under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld), the Education and Care Service National Law 2011 (Qld) and the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).

Relevance

Data collected from the ECECSC enabled Qld DET 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 2016 ECECSC included all children who were enrolled in a licensed or approved child care service or Pre-Prep program provided by a government school or through distance education. 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.

Only children aged 3 to 6 who were enrolled in a preschool program were considered in-scope for the Collection. However, data on 3 year olds is not likely to reflect the full 3 year old population in preschool. Data on 3 year olds were likely only collected if a 3 year old was enrolled and attending a kindergarten program specifically aimed at children in the year before full-time schooling (i.e. aimed at 4 and 5 year olds).

However, it should be noted that Queensland has experienced a sharp increase in the number of 3 year old children enrolled in a preschool program. This is due to the new policy in place in 2015, which resulted in 3 year old children born in July being eligible for funding and therefore regarded as an "early enrolment into kindy".

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

Coverage: The 2016 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 2016 ECECSC collected data for funded approved programs using a URL collection methodology for children and service providers. Data for unfunded providers was collected using an Aggregate level collection methodology.

Timeliness

The ECECSC is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken in the week commencing 1 August 2016. For all service providers the reference period was 1 August to 7 August 2016. Completion of the data processing and validation stages occurred in the 2 months following the collection, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

For the 2016 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 2016, Qld DET included online guides as well as 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.

An imputation process was undertaken by Qld DET for non-responses by funded services in 2016, incorporating historical and donor methodology. No adjustment for any known or predicted undercount was undertaken.

Since 2012, Qld DET in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Education and Training has implemented an imputation strategy to improve coverage and maximise the available child URL data. In 2016, this involved Qld and the Australian Government Department of Education matching service providers for Qld unfunded providers (i.e. Long Day Care centres). Qld DET then adjusted the aggregate collection data to exclude counts reported by the CCMS collection, ensuring no double-counting.

Since 2015, Qld DET has required a response to the Indigenous Status question for kindergarten children. This has eliminated issues with missing data from some records from earlier years and significantly reduced instances of "unknown" values for this item.

Coherence

Queensland data is comparable with other jurisdictions at both episode and child level. However, the use of aggregate data to supplement URLs may result in a slight over-count of episodes and children in Qld. Care should also be taken when interpreting episode/child data across years.

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 NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the 2016 data for Queensland and the NECECC standards.

Interpretability

Qld DET 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 DET website http://www.deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/news/sector-reports/services-census.html.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ECECSC for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website. Data from the ECECSC are also published in sector fact sheets and various other forms on the Qld DET website http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/service/factsheets.html.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from Qld DET in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available at the Qld DET website http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/office/services-census.html.


SOUTH AUSTRALIA

In 2016, 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).

Relevance

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 also enabled reporting across the SA early childhood education and care sector.

Scope: The scope of the 2016 ACCS included children aged 3 to 5 years who were enrolled and attending (or expected to attend) a government managed or government funded preschool service (including integrated centres with a child care service), or a funded preschool program operating in non-government child care centres or schools. Out of scope were early childhood education services that receive no funding for their preschool program from DECD.

Children who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, and children under the guardianship of the Minister for Education and Child Development, are eligible under the DECD Preschool Enrolment Policy to commence a government managed or government funded preschool after their third birthday and are entitled to up to 480 hours of preschool in the two years before full-time school. These children have been included as in scope.

Some funded preschool programs operating in non-government child care centres or schools also provide preschool to 3 year old children. DECD does not obligate these services to provide data for these children in the ACCS unless they are enrolled in a preschool program in their year before full time school and are receiving preschool funding from DECD for these children. Any data received for 3 year old children from these non-government services (regardless of whether they are in their year before full-time school) in the ACCS was submitted in the Collection.

Coverage: In 2016, 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 child care centres with a preschool program. Unfunded Independent and Catholic school managed preschool providers and Long Day Care (LDC) centres with no DECD funded preschool program are not invited to participate in the ACCS. There are a relatively small percentage of South Australian children who have received a preschool program delivered by one of these unfunded services.

Data collection methods: The 2016 ACCS used a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ACCS is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken with a submission due date of 17 August 2016 and a reference period of 1 August to 12 August 2016. 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 Collection. The data processing and validation stages took approximately 2 months after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

In 2016, the ACCS collected data through the use of two systems, one for non-government preschool providers and the other for DECD preschools. The Early Years System (EYS) is a web-based preschool administration system used by DECD preschools in SA. Non-government preschool providers that are funded by DECD use the Non-Government Preschool Data System (NGPDS) to submit the data required for the ACCS.

The NGPDS has been developed as a web-based preschool data reporting system that serves the dual purpose of collecting data requirements for grant funding administration as well as to satisfy State and National reporting obligations. Both the EYS and NGPDS have been developed with the capability of importing data from other administrative systems (e.g. Child Care Management Systems) to provide the facility of reducing respondent burden and input error. Both the EYS and NGPDS have validation rules built in to ensure that services are submitting accurate data that is compliant with the NECECC standards.

SA DECD collated data collected from both systems using a data repository known as the Early Childhood Data System or Data Administration Centre (DAC). The DAC allows for Data Management and Reporting staff to administer a data collection and to run checks and validations on the data received from service providers. The DAC also performs geographical coding on residential addresses of child records and sequential match coding for children enrolled in preschool across multiple services. Service provider details are stored and maintained in the Location Services System (LSS), from which data for the 2016 Collection were also obtained.

In identifying the Indigenous status of the child, DECD asks the standard question "Is the child of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?" on the Preschool Enrolment Form.

Coherence

For the purposes of the Collection, most data collected through the 2016 ACCS were comparable with 2015 data. Due to systems developments and subsequent data improvements, some data collected in 2014, 2015 and 2016 may not be comparable to 2013 data. These years were undertaken using similar URL data collection methodologies.

DECD preschools also transitioned to a single intake preschool enrolment policy in 2013, which impacted on counts in 2014. Children are entitled to access 4 terms of preschool in the year before they start school as follows:
  • If a child turns 4 years of age before 1 May, they may start preschool in Term 1 in that year
  • If a child turns 4 years of age on or after 1 May, they are eligible to start preschool from the beginning of Term 1 in the following year.
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 NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the 2016 ACCS.

Interpretability

SA provided a range of information to assist in the reporting of data, such as the 2016 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. The NGPDS is an intuitive system and user training has been provided via a webpage that contains user guides, video tutorials, and ACCS instructions. A dedicated EYS/NGPDS Support Team was in place to support users with technical issues or queries with either the EYS or NGPDS and the Data Management and Reporting team were available to respond to any data related questions.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACCS for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

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


WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In 2016, Western Australia (WA) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the WA August School Census.

WA AUGUST SCHOOL CENSUS

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the School Census is the WA Department of Education (DoE). Data for the WA August School Census were collected under the School Education Act 1999 (WA).

Relevance

The data collected through the School Census were used to meet national reporting requirements, including the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) and the NECECC. The data were also used to adjust school funding allocations where necessary and forward planning for the government and non-government school sectors.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the WA August School Census consisted of children who were attending a preschool program within a government or non-government school, including community based preschools operating under provisions of the School Education Act 1999.

Coverage: Full coverage was achieved for all registered and funded schools (both government and non-government) and community-based preschools operating under provisions of the School Education Act 1999. As preschool programs provided in Long Day Care (LDC) settings are not funded or regulated by WA DoE, these service providers were not included in the WA August School Census.

Data collection methods: The 2016 WA August School Census used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The WA August School Census is an annual collection conducted in August. In 2016 the collection was undertaken on 5 August, and the reference period for all data was the week ending 5 August 2016. Data processing and validation took approximately ten weeks to complete after the collection date, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

Government and community preschools data were obtained through an administrative system, the INTEGRIS Student Information Database (SID) and a daily data harvesting process. The SID is the primary source of Unit Record Level (URL) data for public schools. The SID data were uploaded into the WA DoE online Student Census System where the data were checked, verified and endorsed as accurate by each school principal. For non-government schools, child URL data was extracted from school enrolment records at the census date. Non- government schools uploaded URL data using a comma-separated value file to the WA DoE's online Student Census System.

Following the validation checks detailed below, government, non-government and community preschool data collected through the WA August School Census were then stored in the Student Census System data warehouse, and extracted for the purposes of the Collection.

Internal validation processes for the WA August School Census occurred at three different points of the process. The WA DoE online Student Census System had a series of in-built validation rules, some of which required the school to edit data before continuing, while other rules generated warnings alerting the user to anomalies. A second set of validation processes were run by the WA August School Census team, using both routine and ad-hoc validation methods to examine data while it was assembled into working files. The third set of validation rules were built into the custom software which loaded the census data into the Student Census System data warehouse.

Data for the NECECC’s ‘Service provider organisation—early childhood education program delivered by a qualified teacher indicator’ data element are obtained using an annual Kindergarten Provision Survey that is conducted at the same time as the WA August School Census.

In relation to the identification of Indigenous status, the data are collected from primary carers at enrolment in preschool using a standard enrolment form question. The coding of the responses is as per the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), i.e. 1 - 4, and 9 for not stated or inadequately described. Schools' student information systems do not allow valid entries other than prescribed. WA is confident it achieves a very high level of accuracy of its Indigenous identification, with results showing a high level of concordance with other independent measures/estimates (e.g. ABS's ERPs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians). This is attributable to a strong push within the WA school education sector (in which most preschool resides) for targeted attention to the learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, the involvement of Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers in schools who liaise constantly with local Aboriginal communities and assist them to enrol their children where applicable, and a student-centred funding model in the WA public school system which provides a higher rate of funding for students (including those in preschool) who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students to address their needs. Schools' census data are also subjected to audit by the Department of Education (government schools) and the Department of Education Services (non-government schools).

Coherence

The 2016 data are fully comparable to the data collected in 2015.

Some data have changed over time which has affected the comparability of data:
  • In 2015, data about preschool hours enrolled and attended were each collected specifically for the reference week. In 2014, however, hours enrolled was collected in relation to a 'typical' week and hours attended was collected in relation to the reference week. Consequently, enrolled and attended hours data in 2014 were not fully consistent (e.g. there were some cases where attendance hours exceed enrolment hours or hours offered). The 2015 and 2016 data is not affected by this limitation.
  • In 2015, maximum preschool program hours available were specifically for the reference week, rather than for a 'typical' week as used in 2014.

Data from 2014, 2015 and 2016 about preschool enrolment and attendance hours are not comparable to 2013 data due to a materially different methodology:
  • From 2014, URL data about preschool hours enrolled and attended were collected as part of the WA August School Census for all children enrolled at government, non-government and community-based preschools. This process replaced the less refined process used in 2013 that collected child attendance information in aggregated form through a series of questions in the Kindergarten Provision Survey. Attendance hours data from 2013 are therefore not comparable to attendance hours data in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • From 2014, maximum preschool program hours available were collected from service providers via the Kindergarten Provision Survey rather than being derived from the number of hours enrolled by preschool students (used prior to 2014).

Due to WA policy on enrolment and attendance there may be an under-count of children enrolled in preschool. This is because in WA, a child is only considered to be enrolled if they were enrolled at the school and had either attended at least one half-day in the three weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or were absent due to illness or extended holiday leave with a known return date before the end of the school term.

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 NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the WA August Student Census are outlined in the table below.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Enrolment reference period (Child)The child must be enrolled at the preschool on the WA August School Census day (5 August 2016) and must have either attended at least one half-day in the three weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or had documented evidence that the absence was due to illness or extended holiday leave with a known return date before the end of the school term.

Definition of enrolment (Child)In WA, a child is only considered to be enrolled if they were enrolled at the preschool on the WA August School Census day (5 August 2016) and had either attended at least one half-day in the three weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or had documented evidence that the absence was due to illness or extended holiday leave with a known return date before the end of the school term.

Residential address (Child)For children for whom a valid address was not provided, the child’s address (SA1 and meshblock) information was imputed using the SA1 and meshblock address information for the service provider.




Interpretability

For all schools, the collection instrument contained significant guidance and computation rules to prevent inconsistent responses in relation to prior data entries. WA DoE and non-government sector staff who assisted schools to complete the WA August School Census were trained to provide phone and email support through the WA DoE Customer Service Centre system.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the WA August School Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been provided by WA DoE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available on the WA DoE website http://www.education.wa.edu.au.


TASMANIA

In 2016, Tasmania (Tas.) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection.

TASMANIA 2016 ECEC COLLECTION

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection was the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE). Data for the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection were collected under the Education Act 1994 (Tas.).


Relevance

The data collected by Tas. DoE in the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection were used to report on Tasmanian achievements against performance targets, as well as progress against Australian Government ECEC targets and COAG reforms. For preschools, the information obtained was also used in determining the funding of services by the Tasmanian government.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection consisted of all children enrolled in a preschool program in 2016. The 2016 Data Collection was managed in conjunction with the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office and Independent Schools Tasmania in order to completely cover preschool children at non-government schools accurately.

Data for 3 year old children were included in the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection if they were granted an exemption to start kindergarten before they turned 4 years old as at 1 January 2016. This exemption is granted if:
  • The student is assessed as gifted, or
  • The student was previously enrolled in a pre-school program interstate in 2015 or 2016, to enable contiguous school education.

Coverage: All registered Government schools, Catholic schools, and Independent schools in Tasmania participated in the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection.

Data collection methods: The Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection was conducted using a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken on 5 August 2016, with a reference period of 25 July to 5 August 2016. This reference fortnight was adopted by Tas. DoE to reflect the preschool delivery model in Tasmania. This reference fortnight was then derived by Tas. DoE to a one week reference period to enable comparison with other jurisdictions for the Collection. Completion of the data processing and validation stage took approximately 2 months after the collection date, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

The process of obtaining and processing data in Tasmania commenced with government service providers uploading information from each child enrolment form into the Tas. DoE student management system 'EduPoint' which stored the information in a data warehouse. The data warehouse contains in-built data quality checks that provided timely data feedback to schools. Data from the warehouse were then used to populate the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection.

All teachers in Tasmania must be registered by the Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania. As a result of the registration process, some long-term teachers have teaching certification or relevant 3 year degrees. The registration process requires all long-term teachers to demonstrate, through teaching experience, that they meet the criteria for an equivalent 4 year degree standard. If a long-term teacher meets this criterion, the teachers are deemed to have a 4 year teaching qualification for registration purposes.

The collection data were reviewed and cleaned by Tas. DoE staff. This process included numerous system quality checks such as confirming student ages, hours enrolled, and verifying duplicate enrolments across schools. A declaration stage is included in the data collection application, which each principal was required to review and declare that all data were true and correct. This set of students became the authoritative dataset for the census date. Preschool data were extracted from this census application to match with all other data collated for the Collection. Extensive quality assurance occurred for the attendance and teacher qualification data, to ensure that data were consistent with other Tas. DoE data sources.

Some specific validation methods applied in the data collection application and by Tas. DoE included:
  • data code compliance with the NECECC standards
  • detection of inconsistent data coding, e.g. teachers with no qualifications and students with dates of birth outside expected date ranges, indicating coding errors
  • comparisons of student enrolment counts with previous year data
  • review of school summary tables by student data by various categories, i.e. Indigenous status, enrolment hours
  • students in repeat years of preschool

At enrolment in Tasmanian government schools, the national ACARA schools enrolment question is asked: "Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?" The responses available are: no; yes, Aboriginal; Yes, Torres Strait Islander or Yes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. If a student or family doesn't answer the question, then the response is "Not Stated." For Non-government schools, the same question is asked, with available responses from the non-government Kinder enrolment system: Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander origin; Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal origin; Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin; Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin; and Not stated/inadequately described. Again if there is no response it is coded as "Not stated."

Finally Tasmania undertakes significant quality assurance on the data to ensure correct coding. Overall student numbers are in line with expectations and each school is reviewed to ensure the question and responses are representative.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection were comparable with data collected in 2013, 2014 and 2015, as all collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

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 NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Collection are outlined in the table below.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Maximum preschool program hours available (Child)The data element ‘Preschool program attendance hours’ was used as a proxy for this data element.

Child attendance and enrolment dataHours of attendance were derived from the kinder class times. Attendance was recorded per student per class.


Interpretability

To support data custodians participating in the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection, a guide was sent to service providers for the collection application to assist users with the data collection system.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Tasmanian 2016 ECEC Data Collection for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from Tas. DoE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available at the Tas. DoE website http://www.education.tas.gov.au.


NORTHERN TERRITORY

In 2016, the Northern Territory (NT) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool services, the Age/Grade Census (the Census), which collected data using a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology.

The 2016 Census consisted of three components:
  • Student Census
  • Staff Census
  • Preschool Census (Students and Staff).

AGE/GRADE CENSUS

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the Census is the NT Department of Education (DoE). Data for the Census were collected under the Education Act (NT) 2016.

Relevance

Data collected from the Age/Grade Census enables reporting on NT schools and the early childhood education sector for a variety of reporting requirements. The preschool data collected from this census are used for the Supplementary Recurrent Assistance Enrolment Data Collection, the Report on Government Services, National Partnership Agreements, government budget paper estimates and the NT DoE annual report.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Age/Grade Census consisted of all children enrolled in preschool and who have attended a government or registered non-government preschool at least once during the 4 week reference period 13 June - 5 August 2016 (the reference period did not apply during the NT school holidays 27 June - 24 July 2016). Two remote schools operate on different school terms and had the reference periods 6 June - 5 August 2016 and 9 June - 26 August 2016.
The preschool data is then collected about these children based on a two week reference period (1 August – 14 August 2016) for instance their attendance is calculated over the two week reference period not the four week reference period.

In the NT, children are eligible to enrol in preschool at the beginning of the year if they turn 4 years of age on or prior to 30 June of the same year. Children in very remote schools may be enrolled in a preschool program when they turn three years of age, provided they will be accompanied by a parent who will remain with them for each session. This is an important strategy to engage children in remote areas in early childhood education programs.

Coverage: All government and registered non-government preschools participated in the Age/Grade Census. Although the data collection methodology utilised for non-government preschools differed from that applied to government preschools, the data collected were at the same level of detail and are comparable with data from government preschools.

Long Day Care centres that deliver an early childhood education program were not within scope of the 2016 Age/Grade Census, therefore the Child Care Management System (CCMS) was utilised for coverage of this sector.

Data collection methods: The 2016 Age/Grade Census used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Age/Grade Census is an annual collection undertaken on the first Friday in August each year; in 2016 it occurred on the 5th of August. The four week reference period is used to determine which children are to be included in the collection.

Whilst data is collected on the 5th of August 2016 it then goes through a number of validation processes by the schools and NT DoE before being submitted to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in November 2016.

Accuracy

Child level data: In 2016, data extracts from the student Age/Grade Census record level information were submitted from each government and some non-government schools' Student Administration and Management System (SAMS). Non-government schools without SAMS provided child, teacher and service provider record level information via Excel spread sheets. Additional data for staff and preschool (students and staff) were collected through an online survey tool for government schools. All data was processed centrally for inclusion in the census collection.

It should be noted that seasonal attendance patterns for the NT show lowest attendance during August. This is partially due to sporting and community events and the transient lifestyle of remote and very remote populations.

After data were processed by NT DoE, school principals were required to check the data, edit if necessary, and confirm accuracy. Business rules guided the processing of data. All three components of the Age/Grade Census required formal sign-off from school principals for the final data lodgement, stating it was a true and accurate representation of their school for the reference period. This ensured the quality and validity of the data being provided. Internal validation of the early childhood data was subsequently undertaken.

Detailed validation processes used by NT DoE in 2016 were as follows:
  • Improvements were made to the online survey tool and the non-government school Excel spreadsheets to decrease the amount of data entry errors.
  • School validation: schools were provided with a validation report and were required to confirm the information was correct. Schools were required to carry out validation reporting to maintain data quality, targeting such areas as child Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, gender and age.
  • System validation: the validation process included historical comparison of trends, comparison of enrolments and schooling level proportions, cross checking missing data and application of national reporting rules.

When a parent/guardian completes an enrolment form for a student to enrol in an NT Government school, the following question is asked in relation to their Indigenous Status:

Question Response

Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?No
Yes, Aboriginal
Yes, Torres Strait Islander
Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Where the answer is not recorded, schools are asked to follow up with the parent/guardian to confirm the Indigenous status of the child. This is done throughout the year and also forms part of the validation process for the Age/Grade Census. Any students without a valid Indigenous status recorded are flagged in validation reports. If the parent/guardian does not wish to disclose the Indigenous status it is recorded as Not Stated. Non-government schools are not required to use the same enrolment form as government schools so the wording may vary slightly.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2016 Age/Grade Census were comparable with data collected in 2015. Both collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

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 NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the Census are outlined in the table below.

DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE NECECC STANDARDS

Data Element Details of Deviation

Early childhood program hours attended (Child)Attended hours for NT Government preschools are derived from early childhood program sessions attended per week as per NECECC standards specifications. Attended hours from NT Non-Government preschools are recorded as the actual number of hours of preschool that a child attended including non-instructional times such as recess, tea breaks and lunch breaks where a child was under the supervision of the school.

Date of birth (Child)Where date of birth was unavailable, it was estimated at 01/01/YYYY.

Address—statistical area level 1 (SA1) code (Child)Geo-coding for some child addresses was less accurate where instances of remote residences or street names were not supplied.
For those child addresses that did not code to SA1, SA2 was provided. Otherwise unknown or incomplete addresses were coded to the NT not stated code, 79999998999

Address—statistical area level 1 (SA1) code (Service Provider)Geo-coding for some remote preschool addresses was less accurate where street names were not supplied.
Unknown or incomplete addresses were coded to NT not stated code, 79999998999


Interpretability

The NT provided a range of information to service providers to assist in the collection and reporting of data, such as manuals and fact sheets, to support correct interpretation and definition of concepts. Detailed reports and instructional papers on the requirements, processes and rules for submitting data through the Age/Grade Census were provided to service providers to assist with data provision.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Age/Grade Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been sourced by from NT DoE in consultation with the ABS.


AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY - GOVERNMENT

In 2016, data for the Australian Capital Territory was sourced from:
Canberra Public School Census - ACT Education Directorate
ACT Independent Preschool Collection - ACT Education Directorate
ACT Catholic Preschool Collection - Catholic Sector

A) CANBERRA PUBLIC SCHOOL CENSUS

Institutional Environment

ACT Education Directorate is responsible for the collection of early childhood data from Canberra Public Schools and Independent Schools.

Relevance

Data collected from the Canberra Public School Census contributed to a variety of reporting requirements and were used to ensure effective delivery of children's education services within the ACT public sector.

Scope: The scope for the Canberra Public School Census includes all children between 4 and 6 years of age attending public school preschools. It is ACT policy that preschool is only provided to 4 and 5 year olds and this policy has been applied more strictly in 2016 than in previous years resulting in no 3 year olds being included in the 2016 collection. Children enrolled in a preschool program at Jervis Bay School were included in the census as that school is administered by the Directorate on behalf of the Australian Government. Children who were absent for more than 4 continuous school weeks prior to the census date were included if the principal received written documentation signed by the child's guardian indicating that the child would return to school.

Coverage: Within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), full collection coverage for 2016 was achieved for all ACT Government managed schools.

Data collection methods: The 2016 Canberra Public School Census data used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

In August each year, the Directorate conducts a census of public school enrolments. The 2016 Canberra Public School Census was conducted on Friday 5 August 2016. The reference period of 1 August to 12 August 2016 was adopted by the Directorate to reflect the preschool delivery model in ACT for the collection of attendance data from the Canberra public preschools. The reference fortnight was then derived by the Directorate to a one week reference period to enable comparison with other jurisdictions for the National ECEC Collection. Completion of data processing and validation stages took approximately 3 months from the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Accuracy

In 2016, data were obtained from a point in time sweep of enrolment and attendance data stored in the public school administration system. Individual child information was captured from data supplied via an enrolment form which was entered into MAZE by school staff. Each ACT public school had access to their own MAZE database, where teachers or administrators uploaded information on each child enrolment. The principal of each school was required to sign off on their school's total enrolment count by sex and year level. Any inconsistencies were followed up. Every school's MAZE system was linked to a central database, which could only be accessed by central office staff. At census time, child enrolment information was extracted from the central database and cross checked with schools.

Key approaches undertaken by the ACT to manage the quality of its data processing for 2016 are as follows:
  • ACT's system included automatic edits and mandatory fields, such as date of birth, sex, family details, attendance status and Indigenous status
  • ACT cross checked addresses for the preschools ensuring one existed for each service provider
  • Child addresses were geo-coded to produce valid CD and SA1 codes
  • A survey of schools was undertaken to confirm the number of preschool classes and identify teachers in the collection period.

The ACT carried out validation of 2016 data in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
  • Manual data entry was avoided where possible through an automatic transfer of child information when the child had previously attended another ACT public school
  • Date of birth was checked against year level and outliers were followed up
  • Duplicate records of one child attending two schools were followed up
  • Data checks included matching back to the original census data and running aggregate counts for each field.

The process of obtaining service provider information from public preschools in the ACT was managed through the school administrative system.

Coherence

Data collected through the 2016 early childhood components of the Canberra Public School Census were comparable with data collected in 2015, as both collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

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 NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected.

Interpretability

In 2016, the Directorate provided face-to-face staff training in the MAZE system, supported with a handbook which outlined how to enter data, extract data, find data and validate data.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Canberra Public School Census for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website. Data are also made available on the ACT Education Directorate website http://www.det.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/publications_a-z/census.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been provided by Directorate in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the Directorate website: <http://www.det.act.gov.au>


B) ACT INDEPENDENT PRESCHOOL COLLECTION

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the ACT Independent Preschool Collection was the ACT Education Directorate in collaboration with the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT. Data for 2016 were collected under the Education Act 2004 (ACT), the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT), and the ACT Childcare Services Standards 2009.

Relevance

Scope: The scope of the early childhood education component of the ACT Independent Preschool Collection included all children attending a preschool program in an Independent school. It is ACT policy that preschool is only provided to 4 and 5 year olds and this policy has been applied more strictly this year than in previous years resulting in very low counts for 3 and 6 year olds. Children who were absent for more than 4 continuous school weeks prior to the census date were included if the principal received written documentation signed by the child's guardian indicating that the child would return to school.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid primary contact teachers that delivered a preschool program and other contact and administrative school staff employed during the reference period at Independent schools in ACT.

Coverage: The 2016 ACT Independent Preschool Collection included the primary Independent schools delivering a preschool program.

Data collection methods: The 2016 ACT Independent Preschool Collection collected data using a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ACT Independent Preschool Collection is an annual collection with a reference period of 1 August 2016 to 12 August 2016. Fortnightly data were converted to a one week reference period to enable valid and reliable national comparisons.

Accuracy

In 2016, the Directorate carried out validation of 2016 data from each Independent school delivering a preschool program. Service provider information for Independent preschools in the ACT was provided by each of the Independent Schools, either through this collection or via the Child Care Management System.

ACT Independent Schools most commonly collect the indigenous status of students through the school's enrolment process. It is the family's decision if they wish for the student to be identified or not in the enrolment process or at any other time during the student's schooling.

Coherence

This is the fourth year the data for ACT Independent preschools has been included in the National ECEC Collection. The data has been collected on a comparable basis to 2015. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected.

Interpretability

In 2016, the data was collected by the Directorate directly from the Independent schools in collaboration with the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT. The Directorate liaised closely with the Director of the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT and the best contact person of each school to verify details. The Directorate then worked with each participating Independent school to collect the data.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACT Independent Preschool Collection for the 2016 National ECEC Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The Directorate collected information contained in this report directly from Independent schools in consultation and collaboration with the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT.


C) ACT CATHOLIC PRESCHOOL COLLECTION

Institutional Environment

The organisation responsible for the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection was Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, ACT. Data for 2016 were collected under the Education Act 2004 (ACT), the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT), and the ACT Childcare Services Standards 2009.

Relevance

Scope: The scope of the early childhood education component of the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection included all children between 4 and 5 years of age attending a preschool program in a Catholic school. Children who were absent for more than 4 continuous school weeks prior to the census date were included if the principal received written documentation signed by the child's guardian indicating that the child would return to school.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid primary workers employed during the reference period at Catholic schools in ACT.

Coverage: The 2016 ACT Catholic Preschool Collection included all primary Catholic schools delivering a preschool program or programs.

Data collection methods: The 2016 ACT Catholic Preschool Collection used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ACT Catholic Preschool Collection is an annual collection and in 2016 was undertaken on 5 August 2016, with a reference period of 25 July to 5 August 2016. Fortnightly data were converted to a one week reference period to enable valid and reliable national comparisons.

Accuracy

In 2016, data were obtained from a point in time sweep of enrolment and attendance data stored in the ACT Catholic School administration system (known as 'MAZE'). Catholic Education carried out validation of 2016 data using data from the MAZE administrative system and through consultation with Catholic Education personnel and service providers. Data from each Catholic school delivering a preschool was assessed by Catholic Education.

Indigenous students are identified at enrolment through the enrolment form. The information is not mandatory. Data is collected and stored in the MAZE administration system.

Coherence

The 2016 Collection was the fifth time Catholic preschool data were included. An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected.

Interpretability

In 2016, the majority of data were collected by MAZE sweeps and Human Resources Employment extracts, cross checked with personnel at Catholic Education and Centres. Catholic Education liaised closely with the Director of each centre to verify details.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection for the 2016 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information Source

The information contained within this report has been provided by the ACT Education Directorate and Catholic Education in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the ACT Education Directorate website http://www.det.act.gov.au.