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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In 2013, 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 2013 ECECSC is Qld Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE). Data for the 2013 ECECSC were collected under the Child Care Act 2002 (Qld), the Education and Care Service National Law 2011 (Qld) and the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).


Data collected from the ECECSC enabled Qld DETE 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 2013 ECECSC included all children who were enrolled in a licensed or approved child care service, 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 three year population in preschool. Data on three year olds were likely only collected if a three 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).

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 2013 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 2013 ECECSC collected data for the following statistical entities:
Funded approved programs (URL data collection methodology):

    • Child: data at the child record level
    • Service provider organisation: data at the service provider record level
    • Worker: data at the worker record level
    Unfunded providers (Aggregate level data collection methodology):
      • Child: Totals for children enrolled and attending preschool programs at the program level
      • Service provider organisation: data at the service provider record level
      • Worker: data at the worker record level


    The ECECSC is an annual collection and in 2013 was undertaken in the week commencing 29 July. For all service providers the reference period was 29 July to 4 August 2013. 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.

    Selected data sourced from the ECECSC for the purposes of the Collection are published by the ABS in Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0).


    For the 2013 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 2013, Qld DETE 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 for relevant questions.

    An imputation process was undertaken by Qld DETE for non-responses by funded services in 2013, incorporating historical and donor methodology. No adjustment for any known or predicted undercount was undertaken. No imputation was applied for unfunded services.


    Historically, Qld have only been able to provide aggregate data for unfunded programs in Qld so only episode data was published for Qld. To improve coverage and maximise the available child URL data a new approach was undertaken in 2013. This approach involved Qld and the Australian Government Department of Education matching service providers for Qld unfunded providers (LDCs). The ABS then utilised CCMS URL records for the number of 4 and 5 year old children identified in those matched service providers. Qld then adjusted their aggregate collection data to exclude those reported from the CCMS collection, ensuring no double-counting.

    Queensland data is therefore comparable with other jurisdictions at both episode and child level. However, the ABS acknowledges that this may result in a slight over-count of episodes and children in Qld.

    Given the new approach applied to Qld. data in 2013, care needs to be taken when interpreting episode/child data across years.

    Specific data elements which were collected using methods which did not align with the ECEC National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) specifications are outlined below and should be taken into account when analysing the data collected. 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 ECEC NMDS specifications. Deviations between the 2013 ECEC NMDS and data collected from the Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census are outlined in Table 6.4.1 and Table 6.4.2.

    6.4.1 DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE 2013 ECEC URL NMDS – Funded Approved Programs

    Data Element Details of Deviation

    Nil Nil

    6.4.2 DEVIATION OF COLLECTION FROM THE 2013 ECEC Aggregate NMDS – Unfunded Providers

    Data ElementDetails of Deviation

    Number of children enrolled in a preschool programThis data element could not be disaggregated by the child level data element ‘Sex’.

    Number of children attending a preschool program

    Number of Indigenous children enrolled in a preschool programThis data element could not be disaggregated by the child level data element ‘Sex’ and was only available at the level of ‘Indigenous’ or ‘non-Indigenous’.

    Number of Indigenous children attending a preschool program

    Counts of Children:
    It is possible for a child to be concurrently enrolled in and attending two or more preschool programs and attend preschool across years. In order to address collection requirements, it is important to be able to identify accurately matched episode records for a child both within a collection cycle and between years.

    Children in a Preschool Program in 2013 and in the Year before Full-time Schooling:
        For Qld, counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs in 2013 and in the year before full-time schooling, were calculated using a new approach based on a combination of CCMS URL data and ECECSC data.

    Qld DETE 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 DETE website: <http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/office/services-census.html>.


    Data sourced from the ECECSC for the 2013 Collection are published at the state and territory level in Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0) on the ABS website. Data from the ECECSC are also published in sector fact sheets and various other forms on the Qld DETE website: <http://deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/service/factsheets.html>.

    Information Source

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

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