4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/02/2017   
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Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (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 education departments and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. A comprehensive quality declaration for each jurisdiction can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of the release).

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.


The Collection was established in 2010 as part of the data development activities to improve the quality of Early Childhood Education data required for reporting under the former National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education and continues under the current National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education - 2016 & 2017.

The Collection aims to compile child and service provider statistics from all service providers delivering an in-scope preschool program within Australia. Data on workers were included in Collection cycles prior to 2015. In the 2016 Collection, the submissions of data on numbers and characteristics of workers were sometimes incomplete or not available. Accordingly, statistics on workers have not been included in this publication.

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 seventh time in 2016 and will continue to be conducted annually. The census date for the Collection is the first Friday in August each year. The census date for the 2016 Collection is Friday 5 August 2016, with a 1 week reference period spanning 1 August to 7 August 2016. Some jurisdictions may adopt a 2 week reference period that needs to include the census week. This means the permissible period spans 25 July to 14 August 2016 inclusive.

A summary of jurisdictional collection reference periods adopted in 2016 can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements.


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 jurisdictions. Alignment with these standards has not been completely achieved by all jurisdictions for 2016, 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 quality overall is determined by the jurisdictional data submissions. Data issues are explained in the Explanatory Notes section of this publication, as well as in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of release).

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/602243>


Due to the differing levels of coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the ECEC NMDS across jurisdictions, the data presented in Preschool Education, Australia, 2016 (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 (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 (NIRS) on 1300 135 070.