4240.0 - Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/04/2011  First Issue
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The Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) has been established by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in conjunction with the ABS, to guide jurisdictions in the collection of ECEC data. Compliance with these standards will mean ECEC data is consistent and comparable between jurisdictions. More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found in the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection Manual (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

For 2010, there were a number of different data collection methodologies and reference periods employed across the jurisdictions. This has resulted in some data being inconsistent and not comparable. While certain data elements may have been collected by a jurisdiction, their collection methods may not align with those specified in the ECEC NMDS. Also, some jurisdictions were not able to collect or provide the ABS with certain data elements for the 2010 collection. This has resulted in differences in data across jurisdictions which affects the ability to compare and analyse data. Where data are deemed not to be consistent with the ECEC NMDS or not comparable with other jurisdictions, the data have been presented in their own table or not disseminated for reasons of quality. If statistics for the same data element are presented in separate tables they should not be compared.


Jurisdictions collect and report data for the National ECEC Collection through either a unit record level (URL) collection or an aggregate collection. A jurisdictional URL collection contains de-identified child, teacher and service provider level data. An aggregate methodology supports the collection of information on child and teacher data at the service provider level. Those jurisdictions that were only able to provide aggregate ECEC data for 2010 are working towards collecting URL statistics for future cycles of the National ECEC Collection. Those jurisdictions that were able to provide URL data for 2010 are also working to enhance and expand the information that is collected and/or provided. Table 1 below summarises the level of data provided by each jurisdiction.

1 Jurisdictional Collection Methodologies - 2010

Collection Method

New South Wales
Unit Record Level/Aggregate
South Australia
Western Australia
Unit Record Level
Northern Territory
Unit Record Level
Australian Capital Territory
Unit Record Level


Counts of Children

A key objective of the National ECEC Collection is the collection of data on children enrolled and attending preschool programs, as well as episodes of preschool enrolment and attendance. In order to accurately report on the number of children who have received early childhood education, a requirement of the National ECEC Collection is to count each child once. Given the complexity of the service delivery models for ECEC across Australia, it is a statistical challenge to identify children attending multiple preschool programs within the collection reference period and then to accurately report the number of children attending or enrolled in a preschool program. For the purposes of reporting on hours or fees, total hours and total fees are counted for children attending multiple preschool programs within or across sectors. Below is a summary of the different ways that a child could be counted more than once.

Across jurisdictions

When children and their families move interstate during the reference period, they may still be on the old preschool enrolment list as well as the new preschool enrolment list. This issue is more prominent when the two jurisdictions involved have different collection reference periods (i.e. one in April and one in August).

Cross border issues

Where a child is enrolled and attending two preschools concurrently in separate jurisdictions (e.g. NSW and ACT), they would be counted twice.

Within a sector

Where a child is enrolled and attending two preschool programs within a sector, duplicates could be present (e.g. a child’s family has decided to use two non-government services).

Across sectors

Where a child is enrolled and attending two preschool programs across sectors, duplicates may exist (e.g. a child’s family has chosen to use a combination of government preschool and non-government preschools).

Across time

Where a child attends preschool for more than one year (e.g. a child repeats preschool, or is enrolled in an 'early entry' preschool program) they would be counted twice.

Identification of unique child records can be resolved by application of a statistical linkage key and through consultation with jurisdictions. For the 2010 National ECEC collection, removal of duplicate child records was achieved for Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. As a result, where tables present estimates of the number of children, only Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory estimates are presented.


For the National ECEC Collection, an episode refers to a preschool program provided to a child. When one child attends two different preschool programs, the child is attending two episodes of preschool.

For the 2010 National ECEC Collection, not all jurisdictions were able to provide enough detail from administrative systems to accurately provide counts of children. For this reason, episodes of preschool delivery only (not counts of children) were reported for some jurisdictions. Where the episodes of preschool delivery are comparable to other jurisdictions, they are presented in the same tables but care should be taken when comparing estimates, due to the different collection methodologies employed across the jurisdictions.


In 2010, the recommended collection date for the National ECEC Collection was the first Friday in August (6 August), with the reference week of 2-6 August 2010. This date aligned with the Census date of the National Schools Statistics Collection (cat. no. 4221.0). However, for the 2010 collection, not all jurisdictions were able to provide data for the first Friday of August and some jurisdictions preferred to use a different reference period, to better reflect their fortnightly attendance schedules. Jurisdictional specific collection dates and reference periods for 2010 are summarised in Table 2 below.

2 Jurisdiction collection dates and reference periods - 2010

Jurisdiction Collection Date Reference Period

New South Wales
Community Services, Dept. of Human Services 20 August 9 August - 20 August(a)
Dept. of Education and Training 6 August 2 August - 6 August
Victoria (b)na 12 April - 7 May
Queensland 17 September 30 August - 17 September (a)
South Australia 6 August 2 August - 6 August
Western Australia 6 August 2 August - 6 August
Tasmania 6 August 26 July - 6 August(a)
Northern Territory 6 August 2 August - 6 August
Australian Capital Territory 6 August 2 August - 6 August

na not available
(a) Jurisdiction collected data for a fortnightly reference period.
(b) Victoria did not have a specific collection date.

For the National ECEC collection to be comparable across jurisdictions, it is necessary for all jurisdictions to have a comparable reference period and consistent collection date. All jurisdictions are working towards collecting ECEC statistics on the first Friday in August, for future collection cycles. This alignment with the Census date of the National Schools Statistics Collection will also ensure that a child is not counted more than once across the collections.

Due to the different collection dates and reference periods used in the 2010 collection, statistics for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are presented separately in this publication. These data are not directly comparable with other the jurisdictions for which data was collected during the recommended 2010 reference period.

Future alignment of the collection date and jurisdictional collection reference periods will increase the consistency and interpretability between jurisdictional ECEC statistics.