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CHAPTER 2 - PRESENTATION OF ESTIMATES
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.
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).
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).
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.
EPISODES OF A PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
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.
COLLECTION DATE AND REFERENCE PERIOD
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.
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.
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