4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2014   
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Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0) is compiled from data from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection). The Collection is derived from administrative data provided by state and territory and Australian government departments with responsibility for early childhood education and care. A comprehensive quality declaration for each jurisdiction can be found in the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


In 2008, the importance of education in the early years of a child's development was formally acknowledged through the Council of Australian Governments' endorsement of a new National Partnership on Early Childhood Education (NP ECE). The Collection was conducted for the fourth time in 2013 as part of data improvement projects under the NP ECE and the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care (NIA ECEC). The aim of the Collection is to provide comparable state and territory statistics on early childhood education. Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0) presents counts of children enrolled in and attending preschool programs across Australia.

The Collection aims to compile child, teacher and service provider statistics from all service providers delivering an in-scope preschool program within Australia. The following statistical entities are in-scope for the Collection population:

Service provider
A service provider is considered to be in-scope if it was providing a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.

All children between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive) at 1 July were in scope of the Collection if they were enrolled in a preschool program during the reference period. To be considered as enrolled, the child must have attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or be absent due to illness or extended holiday leave and expected to return.

All paid employees who had direct contact with children at an in-scope service provider during the reference period were in-scope of the Collection. Paid contact workers must have delivered or assisted in delivering a preschool program during the reference week.


The Collection was conducted for the fourth time in 2013 and will continue to be conducted annually. The collection date for the Collection is the first Friday in August each year. In 2013, the collection date for all jurisdictions was Friday, 2 August with a reference period of 29 July to 2 August inclusive. Some states and territories preferred to incorporate a two week reference period which included the collection date, to reflect more accurately, the preschool delivery arrangements in their jurisdiction.

The first Friday in August will be the collection date for future collections, with jurisdictions determining their reference period, ensuring that it includes the collection date. A summary of jurisdictional collection reference periods adopted in 2013 can be found in the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).


Data for the Collection have been compiled according to the National standards outlined in the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) in order to maximise consistency of data across the various jurisdictional collections. Alignment with these standards has not been completely achieved by all jurisdictions for 2013, and care should be taken when comparisons across jurisdictions are made. In addition, some jurisdictions were not able to provide the ABS with certain data elements as specified in the ECEC NMDS.

Data limitations for the 2013 Collection include:

  • A small level of under-coverage of the preschool programs in some sectors
  • Comprehensive child unit record level data not currently available for all jurisdictions, particularly for preschools in the non-government sector or operated without any government funding (including CCB/CCR).
  • Children enrolled in multiple preschool programs are not identifiable by all jurisdictions
  • Differences between data element collection methodologies and alignment with National data standards across jurisdictions
  • Potential duplication of preschool workers within and across data sources due to inability to collect comprehensive unit record level worker data.

Where information on the child’s usual place of residence was not available - that is, where insufficient address information of the child was collected or, where no address details could be provided, Statistical Area of Usual Residence and Remoteness Area in 2013 was assigned using the address of the service at which the child was enrolled. For more information on the collection methodologies and current data limitations for each state and territory, see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

Further information on the ECEC NMDS is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) website: <http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/494143>


Due to the differing levels of coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the ECEC NMDS across jurisdictions, the data presented in Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0) may not be directly comparable across all jurisdictions.

Differences in the scope and counting rules for the Collection mean that the data presented in the publication are not strictly comparable to data published in other national or state/territory publications.


National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) contains detailed information on the data sources, terminology and other technical aspects associated with the National ECEC statistics.

The manual is available free for download from the Related Information tab.


Please refer to the Downloads tab for the products that are available for free from this Collection.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.