INTERPRETING THE CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE SURVEY AND THE NATIONAL EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE COLLECTION
The Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS) and the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC) have a number of methodological differences, which lead to discrepancies between the two sets of preschool estimates. However, used appropriately, these two collections provide an opportunity for a wide range of child care and preschool analysis.
The CEaCS has collected information on childcare arrangements in Australia since 1984 (previously the Child Care Survey). In 2008, the CEaCS expanded to collect more information about early childhood education such as preschool and children's adjustment to school. To ensure that parents are referring to a preschool program, state-specific wording is used in the questionnaire to reflect the common terminology for preschool, the questions are restricted to children aged 3 to 6 years, and parents are asked to state the name of the preschool their child attended.
The NECECC was commenced in 2010, in response to the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, and uses data provided by the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. To be in-scope of the NECECC, a service provider must be providing a structured, play-based learning program, delivered by a degree-qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. Preschool estimates are published in Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4240.0).
INTERPRETING THE DATA
For the reasons outlined below, it is not recommended that comparisons of the preschool attendance counts reported in this publication be made with preschool attendance and enrolment counts presented in Preschool Education, Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 4240.0).
- The CEaCS is a sample survey that collects information by interview with parent or guardian, who are asked about their child's attendance at preschool. In contrast, data used by the NECECC are mainly sourced from administrative collections, which are supplemented where necessary to improve the coverage of preschool program service providers that are not otherwise captured due to funding, regulation or licensing arrangements.
- The reference periods for the two collections differ. CEaCS was conducted from 8–21 June 2014, with a small number of interviews carried out in September 2014. NECECC was collected on 1 August 2014, with a recommended reference period of 28 July – 1 August 2014. These reference dates fall into different school terms.
- The CEaCS collects counts of children who 'usually attended' or who 'attended in the week prior to the survey'. In comparison, the NECECC collection counts children attending and enrolled during the reference period.
Due to these methodological and conceptual differences between the two collections, it is recommended that the user carefully consider their data requirements to ensure choosing the most appropriate preschool estimates for their needs. For more information on CEaCS, refer to the Explanatory Notes.
For more information on the NECECC, refer to Preschool Education, Australia
, 2014 (cat. no. 4240.0) and National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods
, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).
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