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Most little learners in preschool 15+ hours a week
Almost 9 out of 10 four year olds and 2 in 10 five year olds were enrolled in a preschool program in 2016, according to a report published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS spokesperson Michelle Marquardt reported that across the nation in 2016, there were 344,676 children aged four or five years enrolled in a preschool program (also known as an early childhood education program). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children made up 5 per cent (16,598) of this total.
“Of the children enrolled in a preschool program in 2016, 43 per cent were enrolled in preschools and 51 per cent in Long Day Care (LDC) centres,” Ms Marquardt said.
“Service delivery models vary between states and territories and this is reflected in the data. For instance, in Queensland and NSW there were more children enrolled in LDCs than preschools (71 per cent and 65 per cent respectively), meanwhile in Western Australia 80 per cent of children were enrolled in preschools.”
The attendance rate for enrolled children aged four or five years was 96 per cent nationally, with the highest rates of attendance in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (98 per cent). Furthermore, 74 per cent of these children attended for 15 hours or more per week.
The attendance rate was slightly lower (93 per cent) for enrolled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged four or five years, and only 63 per cent of those attending a preschool program did so for 15 or more hours per week.
Ms Marquardt reported that almost a quarter of all children enrolled were in preschool programs that were fee-free in 2016, whilst over half of children were enrolled in programs with low out-of pocket costs (between $1 to $4 per hour). The majority of children enrolled in a preschool program in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory were in fee-free places.
Data for the report were sourced from preschool program service providers, collected by the Australian, state and territory governments.
Further information can be found in Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4240.0) available for free download from the ABS website (https://www.abs.gov.au).
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