4240.0 - Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2012   
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In an effort to deliver significant improvements and outcomes for all Australians, in 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established a partnership between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments to encourage substantial reform in the areas of education, skills and early childhood development. In 2008, COAG endorsed a comprehensive set of goals, outcomes, progress measures and future policy directions in the area of early childhood education (ECE). This included a commitment to ensure that every child in Australia has access to a quality ECE program. This Universal Access commitment will ensure that by 2013, each child will have access to a preschool program that is delivered:
    • in the 12 months prior to full-time schooling, also referred to as the Year Before Formal Schooling (YBFS)
    • by a four-year university-qualified early childhood teacher
    • for 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year
    • across a diversity of settings
    • in a form that meets the needs of parents
    • at a cost that does not present a barrier to participation (COAG, 2008a).

The National ECEC Collection commenced in 2010 and is conducted annually as part of the data improvement projects under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE) and the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care (NIA ECEC).

The estimates presented in this publication are experimental and are based on data collected from the National ECEC Collection.


Responsibility for ECEC is shared between the Australian Government and the state or territory governments, and is administered through a wide range of service providers including government, local government, community, schools (both government and non-government) and private organisations. There is a wide range of ECEC data already collected by government and non-government agencies, required for funding purposes.


A preschool program for the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, is defined as 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. This is irrespective of the type of institution that provides it or whether it is government funded or privately provided. This publication uses the term 'preschool program' to describe an early childhood education program, notwithstanding that the terminology varies considerably across the jurisdictions.

For more details on the definition of a preschool program please see the Explanatory Notes section of this publication.