4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia, 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/03/2014   
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The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection) aims to report accurately on the number of children who have received a preschool program within the collection reference period. To achieve this, an important goal of the Collection is to count each child once in the total number of children who are enrolled in and attending preschool programs. Given the complexity of the service delivery models for ECEC across Australia, it is a statistical challenge to ensure that children attending multiple preschool programs are only counted once in these total counts.


Jurisdictions collect and report data for the Collection using either a unit record level (URL) collection methodology or combination of URL and aggregate collection methodologies.

A URL data collection methodology supports the collection of information at an individual child URL. For the purposes of the Collection, a URL data collection methodology collects child level data and corresponding service level provider data for each child in the data set. In 2013, all jurisdictions were able to collect worker data applying a URL data collection methodology.

An aggregate data collection methodology for the Collection supports the collection of child aggregated information at the service provider level. The following table shows the collection methodologies used by each jurisdiction in 2013.


Jurisdiction Collection Method

Australian Government Unit Record Level
New South Wales Unit Record Level
Victoria Unit Record Level
Queensland Unit Record Level / Aggregate(a)
South Australia Unit Record Level
Western Australia Unit Record Level(b)
Tasmania Unit Record Level
Northern Territory Unit Record Level
Australian Capital Territory Unit Record Level

(a) Qld collected data from a number of unfunded preschools using an aggregate data collection methodology
(b) WA provided some approximate child level data from community preschools derived from aggregate data; refer to Explanatory Note 11

A URL collection with appropriate methodologies and protocols is the most appropriate method for ensuring a child who is enrolled in multiple preschool programs is only counted once in child level estimates. Aggregate data collection methodologies are limited in their capacity to identify children attending multiple preschool programs. For the 2013 Collection, aggregate counts in Qld are treated as proxy child counts. The 2013 collection methodologies applied have reduced some of the potential duplication that may exist in Qld counts. Care needs to be taken when interpreting Qld results due to the inherent data limitations caused by the use of a combination of child URL and aggregate methodologies.


For the Collection, an episode is the count of a single occurrence of a child enrolled in and attending a preschool program. When a child attends two different preschool programs, this is described as a child attending two episodes of preschool. The concept of child episode produces the largest count of observations as it includes the multiple preschool episode experiences for a child.


Identification of Unique Child Counts

The unique child count represents the count of unique children, irrespective of the number of separate preschool episodes any one child may receive. The count ensures when a child attends two or more different preschool programs, the child is only counted once. In any given collection year, the number of unique children will be less than the number of child episodes. For more information on how different child populations are constructed see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.002).

Identification of Unique Child Records in the year before full-time schooling (YBFS)

For the 2013 Collection, children who were enrolled for more than one year of a preschool program were identified and if these children were aged 5 years old, their records were excluded from the year before full-time schooling (YBFS) population. Those 4 year old children who were previously enrolled in a preschool program were not excluded, because they would not have been attending a program in the YBFS in the previous year (i.e. they would have been attending preschool as a 3 year old child in 2012, but were out of scope to be included in the count of children enrolled in, and attending in the YBFS population).

Operationally for the 2013 Collection, the identification of unique child records in the YBFS could only be achieved when 2 years of data had been collected using a URL data collection methodology and, a preschool repeater indicator applied. Children were only included in the YBFS cohort if the child was 4 or 5 years old. To be included as a 5 year old, the child must not have previously attended a preschool program as a four year old. Five year old children who attended a preschool program as a 4 year old were excluded from the YBFS population.


The episode counts of workers include paid contact workers delivering preschool programs. For the 2013 Collection, a uniform and consistent identifier for workers was not collected and resulted in data being output only as episode counts of workers delivering preschool programs.


For more information on these measurement concepts see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) or the Explanatory Notes section of this publication. For more information on instructions and guidelines see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2013 (cat. no 4240.0.55.002).

Further disaggregation of children enrolled in and attending preschools are contained in data cubes available from the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>