4240.0.55.001 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2014  Final
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Contents >> Collection Overview >> Collection Methods


The Collection aims to report accurately on the number of children who have received a preschool program within the collection reference period. To achieve this, an important goal of the Collection is to count each child once in the total number of children within each state and territory who are enrolled in and attending preschool programs. Given the complexity of the service delivery models for Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (ECEC) across Australia, it is a statistical challenge to ensure that children attending multiple preschool programs are only counted once in these total counts.

Jurisdictions collect and report data for the Collection using either a Unit Record Level (URL) collection methodology or combination of aggregate and URL collection methodologies.


A URL data collection methodology supports the collection of information at an individual child unit record level. For the purposes of the Collection, a URL data collection methodology collects child level data and corresponding service provider for each child in the data set. A URL methodology also supports the collection of worker data. This collection methodology also includes worker level data corresponding to the service provider data for each worker in the data set. In 2013, all jurisdictions were able to collect worker data using a URL data collection methodology.

A URL collection with appropriate methodologies and protocols is the most appropriate method for ensuring a child who is enrolled in multiple preschool programs is only counted once in child level estimates. Aggregate data collection methodologies are limited in their capacity to identify children attending multiple preschool programs. Consequently all data from jurisdictions with a collection process that produced Aggregate data for the 2013 Collection could only be presented in terms of episodes of preschool program provision.


An aggregate data collection methodology for the Collection supports the collection of child aggregated information at the service provider level.

An aggregate level data collection methodology contains data from statistical entities within the collection population that are grouped together and aggregated into broader categories. For the Collection, an aggregate data collection methodology collects totals of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs at the service provider level only. Unlike URL methodologies, data collected at this level does not contain detailed child level information. Therefore, it is not operationally possible to identify children enrolled and attending multiple services. All preschool data collected at the service provider level is therefore reported as an episode.

For further information on these concepts, including definitions for child, worker and service provider record level data, see Chapter 3: Concepts, Methods and Processes.

Table 2.2 shows the collection methodologies adapted by each jurisdiction in 2013. Further information on each jurisdiction’s collection capabilities are outlined in Chapter 6: Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.


JurisdictionCollection Method

Australian GovernmentUnit Record Level

New South WalesUnit Record Level

VictoriaUnit Record Level

QueenslandUnit Record Level / Aggregate(a)

South AustraliaUnit Record Level

Western AustraliaUnit Record Level(b)

TasmaniaUnit Record Level

Northern TerritoryUnit Record Level

Australian Capital TerritoryUnit Record Level

(a) Qld. collected data from a number of unfunded preschools using an aggregate data collection methodology.
(b) WA provided some aggregate data as pseudo URL data for community preschools.

All jurisdictions are working towards enhancing the information that they collect and/or provide to the ABS for the Collection, where relevant, to improve child level estimates.

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