Latest release

Preschool Education, Australia methodology

Reference period
2019
Released
13/02/2020
Next release Unknown
First release

Explanatory notes

Introduction

This publication contains statistics on children enrolled and attending preschool programs across Australia in 2019. The statistics were compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the collection). The collection includes data about service providers and children.

Responsibility for early childhood education (ECE) is shared by the Australian Government and the state and territory governments. ECE programs are administered through a wide range of service providers, both government and non-government. In 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established a partnership between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments to encourage reform in the areas of education, skills and early childhood development. Since late 2008 the provision of ECE has been supported through National Partnership Agreements. From 2013 onwards these National Partnership Agreements extended coverage to support Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in the year before full-time school.

The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection was established in 2010 to improve the quality of ECE data required for reporting under National Partnership Agreements. Data from the collection also supports national ECE reporting through the Report on Government Services and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement.

Preschool program

For the purposes of the collection, a preschool program is defined as a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed primarily at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. A preschool program can be delivered in a variety of settings such as stand-alone preschools, preschools co-located as part of a school (both government and non-government), and centre based day care (CBDC) services (formerly known as long day care). A child may attend both a preschool and a separate or adjoined child care facility, such as family day care, outside school hours care, vacation care, in-home care and occasional care services. Participation in preschool is not compulsory and is influenced by parental preference and other factors, such as school starting age in the particular jurisdiction.

Preschool programs are referred to by a variety of other terms across state and territories. Preschool age entry requirements also differ across states and territories. These differences are summarised in the following table:

Program terminology and age entry requirements, by state and territory - 2019

JurisdictionPreschool programTransition to primary school Foundation year (Year prior to year 1)
 ProgramAge of entrySchool yearAge of entry
New South Wales (a)PreschoolGenerally 4 and 5 year oldsKindergarten5 by 31 July
Victoria (b)Kindergarten4 by 30 AprilPreparatory (Prep)5 by 30 April
QueenslandKindergarten4 by 30 JunePreparatory (Prep)5 by 30 June
Western AustraliaKindergarten4 by 30 JunePre Primary5 by 30 June
South Australia (c)Preschool4 by 1 MayReception5 by 1 May
TasmaniaKindergarten4 by 1 JanuaryPreparatory5 by 1 January
Australian Capital TerritoryPreschool4 by 30 AprilKindergarten5 by 30 April
Northern Territory (d)Preschool4 by 30 JuneTransition5 by 30 June
a. New South Wales subsidises early access to community preschool for 3 year old Aboriginal children and 3 year old children from low-income families. In New South Wales, all licensed children’s services for under 6 year olds (who have not commenced Kindergarten) are required to offer programs that meet children’s educational and developmental needs.
b. In Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children known to child protection are eligible for free kindergarten through Early Start Kindergarten funding if they are aged 3 by 30 April of the year in which they are enrolled.
c. South Australia provides early access to Department funded preschool for children who are Aboriginal or under the Guardianship of the Minister after their 3rd Birthday. The compulsory school starting age in South Australia is 6 years at the oldest.
d. In the Northern Territory, children living in very remote areas can attend preschool from the age of three, provided a parent/guardian accompany the child and remain with them at each session until they reach the age of three years and six months.
Source: Report on Government Services 2020.
 

Scope and coverage

The scope of the Collection consists of all service providers delivering a preschool program to children aged 3 to 6 years (inclusive) enrolled during the reference period.

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 they commence full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.

Child
All children who as at 1 July in the collection year were aged between 3 and 6 years (inclusive) and were enrolled in a preschool program during the reference period are in-scope. 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.

In an effort to achieve comprehensive coverage, data were sourced from the Australian Government, state and territory education departments and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. The data are mainly sourced from administrative collections, supplemented where necessary to improve the coverage of service providers not otherwise captured due to funding, regulation or licensing arrangements. The coverage in each state and territory for the 2019 collection is described in Appendix 3 - Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of release in March 2020).

Data quality and comparability

To ensure national comparability, all jurisdictions were required to follow national data standards. The Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) is a set of national data standards which has been established by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in conjunction with the ABS, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, and state and territory departments responsible for ECE. More information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW website.

Not all jurisdictions were able to align their collection methods precisely with these standards as described in Appendix 3 (available in the second stage of release in March 2020). Issues affecting data comparability between the states and territories are included as footnotes and/or explanatory notes within this publication.

Statistics in this release may not be fully comparable with previous releases due to differences in coverage and methodologies. . For more information, please see the jurisdictional Data Quality Statements and the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

Centre based day care data

For the 2019 collection, information on preschool programs delivered in CBDC settings was provided by the Australian Government from the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS). All services approved for administering Child Care Subsidy (CCS) are obliged to provide data.

Collection date and reference period

The collection date is the first Friday in August of each year. The census date for the 2019 collection was Friday 2 August 2019, with the 1 week reference period spanning 29 July to 4 August 2019. Some jurisdictions adopt a 2 week reference period that includes the census week. This means the permissible reference period spans 22 July to 11 August 2019 inclusive. Jurisdictional collection dates and reference periods for 2019 are summarised in the table below.

Jurisdictional collection dates and reference periods - 2019

JurisdictionCollection DateReference Period
Australian Government2 August 201929 July - 4 August 2019
New South Wales2 August 201929 July - 9 August 2019(a)
Victoria2 August 201929 July - 3 August 2019
Queensland2 August 201929 July - 4 August 2019
South Australia2 August 201929 July - 9 August 2019(a)
Western Australia2 August 201929 July - 2 August 2019
Tasmania2 August 201929 July - 9 August 2019(a)
Northern Territory2 August 201917 June - 2 August 2019(b)
Australian Capital Territory2 August 201922 July – 2 August 2019(a)(c)
29 July - 9 August 2019(a)(d)
(a) Jurisdiction collected data for a fortnightly reference period to reflect their preschool delivery model
(b) Reference period for NT did not apply for school holidays between 1 July 2019 - 19 July 2019. In addition one remote school operates on different school terms. The reference period for this school is 10 June 2019 - 16 August 2019.
(c) Reference period for ACT Catholic preschools.
(d) Reference period for ACT Independent & Government preschools.
 

Measurement concepts

Jurisdictions collect and report data for the collection using a unit record level (URL) collection methodology. A URL methodology collects information for individual children and service providers. A URL collection is the most appropriate method for ensuring a child who is enrolled in multiple preschool programs is only counted once in child level estimates.

Episodes
For the collection, an episode is a single occurrence of a child enrolled in and/or attending a preschool program. When a child attends two different preschool programs, this is described as a child having two attendance episodes.

Unique child counts
The unique child count ensures that 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 expected to be less than their number of preschool episodes.

Year before full-time schooling (YBFS)
The YBFS population takes into account the preschool and school entry provisions of the state in which the child usually resides and the child’s date of birth. As part of deriving this state-specific YBFS population, adjustment factors have been applied to certain cohorts for both New South Wales and Victoria to account for the rates at which children proceed from preschool to school education in those states. The adjustments are based on advice from the state education departments and are:

  • For NSW, children aged between 3 years and 11 months and 4 years and 6 months (at 1 July of collection year) are likely to proceed to school in the following year at a rate of 56%.
  • For Victoria, children aged between 4 years and 2 months and 4 years and 6 months (at 1 July of collection year) are likely to proceed to school the following year at a decreasing rate (month of birth: January 74%, February 63%, March 52%, April 41%).
     

Preschool program fees

Fee schedules can differ between programs, organisations and jurisdictions. Fees may be charged daily, weekly, annually, per session or per term. If data is collected at any level other than weekly, the weekly fee is derived from the collected fee and fee schedule. Fees charged are usually based on the number of hours of a preschool program a child is enrolled to receive. Information on fees is collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one preschool episode, their fees are calculated by summing the fees for all of their episodes. Data on fees are rounded to the nearest dollar for publication.

Hours

For URL data, information on hours is collected at the episode level. Where a child has more than one episode at a preschool program their hours are calculated by summing the hours for all of their episodes. Data on hours are rounded to the nearest hour for publication. Hours less than 1 but more than 0 are rounded to 1 hour.

Rounding

Hours and fees data have been rounded prior to being assigned to distinct ranges. Where estimates are rounded discrepancies may occur between components items and their totals.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The preliminary ERP figures presented in this publication are based on the 2016 Census. The ABS has provided these numbers as indicative only. They have been included here to support comparative reporting that has been performed using the 2016 ERP time series. In the collection, children enrolled and attending preschool programs in Jervis Bay have been included in statistics for the ACT. The Other Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included in statistics for WA. Norfolk Island has been included in statistics for NSW. Official ERP numbers for WA, ACT and NSW do not include Other Territories.

Estimated resident population(a), single year of age - as at June 2019
NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.(b)
3 Year old103,17585,57765,23221,18635,9006,2713,7445,849326,986
4 Year old101,14883,72965,42220,64634,9306,1453,5705,911321,550
5 Year old101,44682,78266,41520,92034,6036,1973,5265,706321,660
6 Year old103,07684,34267,40821,24134,9306,2963,6165,832326,794
  1. Estimated resident population (ERP) by state/territory and age as published on 19 December 2019 in Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2019 (cat. no. 3101.0). The Census base for ERP is 2016
  2. Australia total includes Other Territories
     

Classifications

Statistics in this publication are presented according to Sector, Statistical Geography and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA).

Sector

The sector classification used in this publication is a combination of the service provider characteristics Service activity type and Management type, which are part of the ECEC NMDS. Where a child is enrolled in multiple preschool programs, the child’s sector is determined by the characteristics of all the providers at which the child was enrolled.

Tables presented with this classification assign episodes and unique child counts to states and territories according to the geographic location of the service provider.

Statistical geography

For the 2019 collection, data have been classified to the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) standard. The ASGS has been updated based on results from the 2016 Census, including Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) and remoteness area.

The digital boundaries, codes and labels for each of these regions can be downloaded from the ABS website free of charge.

The remoteness structure within the ASGS divides each state and territory into areas on the basis of their relative access to services. The classes of remoteness area (RA) are:

  • major cities of Australia
  • inner regional Australia
  • outer regional Australia
  • remote Australia
  • very remote Australia
     

For more information please refer to the online publication: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

There are two sets of statistics presented using RAs in this publication. The RA of the child’s main service provider is used, and the RA of the child’s usual residence. Where a child’s usual residence is not stated, their main service provider’s geography is used as a proxy. If the service provider’s geography is also not stated, the child’s RA may be imputed where possible and otherwise included only in the totals. It is possible for states or territories to have a zero count in a certain RA class; Tasmania does not contain a major city, the Northern Territory does not contain a major city or an inner regional classification, and ACT does not contain remote or very remote classifications.

The quantity of records for which RA was derived, using service provider geography, can be identified from the not stated SEIFA IRSD data.

The ASGS local government areas are an ABS approximation of gazetted local government boundaries as defined by each state and territory local government department. The 2019 edition of the local government areas structure has been used in the collection. For more information, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2019 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

The ASGS indigenous structure provides a geographical standard for the publication of statistics about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia. The 2016 edition of the indigenous structure has been used in the collection. For more information, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002).

The ASGS commonwealth electoral divisions are an ABS approximation of Australian Electoral Commission electoral division boundaries. The 2019 edition of the Commonwealth electoral divisions structure has been used in the collection. For more information, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2019 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

The ASGS state electoral divisions are an ABS approximation of the respective state and territory electoral commission's state electoral districts. The 2019 edition of the State electoral divisions structure has been used in the collection. For more information, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2019 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

Socio-economic indexes for areas

The SEIFA is a product developed especially for those interested in the assessment of the welfare of Australian communities. SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2016 Census of Population and Housing information. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how disadvantaged that area is compared with other areas in Australia. Quintiles are calculated by ordering the scores for all areas from lowest to highest, with the lowest 20% of areas given a quintile number of 1 and so on, up to the highest 20% of areas which are given a quintile number of 5. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measuring, for example, income or unemployment alone. The SEIFA index used for the collection is the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD). Where a child’s geography was not stated, the SEIFA IRSD is published as not stated.

For more information on SEIFA please see the Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0).

Privacy and confidentiality

Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and the Privacy Act 1988. Some figures in this publication have been perturbed in order to prevent the disclosure of information that may allow the identification of individuals or organisations.

General acknowledgement

This publication draws on information provided by the Australian Government, state and territory governments, and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Their continued cooperation enables the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to publish a wide range of education statistics. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905 .

Additional information

For more information on the collection measurement concepts see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001).

For more information on data collection instructions and guidelines see the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide (available on request).

Additional statistics are available from Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) using the TableBuilder and/or DataLab facilities.

For more information on estimated resident population and population projections, see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), Regional Population by Age and Sex, Australia (cat. no. 3235.0) and Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 3238.0).

Inquiries

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Appendix - service provider coverage

Table A1 shows the number of service providers from which data were collected for the 2019 collection. All service providers that delivered an early childhood education and care (ECEC) program by a qualified teacher to children between the ages of 3 and 6 years are included in the counts.

A1 Number of early childhood education and care service providers delivering an ECEC program to children aged 3 to 6 years, sector(a)

   NSWVic.Qld(b)SAWATas.NTACTAust.
Preschool         
 Government
157
230
160
339
659
153
121
83
1 902
 Non-government         
  Community
635
816
400
4
-
-
-
-
1 855
  Private for profit(c)
-
7
2
-
-
-
-
-
9
  Independent schools
22
77
28
13
122
25
4
2
293
  Catholic schools
1
-
28
8
133
30
4
-
204
  Total non-government
658
900
458
25
255
55
8
2
2 361
 Total preschool
815
1 130
618
364
914
208
129
85
4 263
Preschool program within a centre based day care         
 Government
200
108
16
55
23
10
3
3
418
 Non-government
2 884
1 519
1 573
352
625
114
78
164
7 309
 Total centre based day care(d)
3 084
1 627
1 589
407
648
124
81
167
7 727
Total service providers with a preschool program delivered by a qualified teacher
3 899
2 757
2 207
771
1 562
332
210
252
11 990
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. State/territory is derived from the provider's location.
b. Queensland data includes a small number of occasional care services providing a preschool program.
c. Includes 'Other'.
d. Some preschools are reclassified to centre based day care due to collection methodologies.
 

The counts were developed by processing service provider information from state and territory submissions and the Australian government’s child care subsidy system (CCSS) submission. Where the same service provider was identified across two data sources, the service provider has been counted only once.

Information from the multiple data sources was compared and service provider data characteristics were updated to make use of the best available data. This methodology resulted in reclassification of service activity type for some service providers in order to most accurately reflect the activity occurring at a service provider. For example, where a service provider was categorised as ‘preschool’ within a state or territory collection but was also categorised as ‘centre based day care with a preschool program’ within the CCSS submission, the service activity type ‘centre based day care with a preschool program' was adopted for that service provider.

Table A2 shows the number of service providers which had enrolments of 4 and 5 year old children. The category 'Total service providers with a preschool program' in this table corresponds to the child statistics reported in this publication.

A2 Number of service providers with an early childhood education program delivered to children aged 4 and 5 years, sector(a)

   NSWVic.Qld(b)SAWATas.NTACTAust.
DELIVERED BY A QUALIFIED EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
Preschool         
 Government
154
230
160
339
659
150
67
83
1 842
 Non-government         
  Community
627
816
399
4
-
-
-
-
1 846
  Private for profit(c)
-
7
2
-
-
-
-
-
9
  Independent schools
22
77
28
13
122
25
4
2
293
  Catholic schools
1
-
28
8
133
30
3
-
203
  Total non-government
650
900
457
25
255
55
7
2
2 351
 Total preschool
804
1 130
617
364
914
205
74
85
4 193
Preschool program within a centre based day care         
 Government
199
106
16
55
21
10
2
3
412
 Non-government
2 859
1 501
1 565
350
617
112
79
164
7 247
 Total centre based day care(d)
3 058
1 607
1 581
405
638
122
81
167
7 659
Total service providers with a preschool program delivered by a qualified teacher
3 862
2 737
2 198
769
1 552
327
155
252
11 852
NOT DELIVERED BY A QUALIFIED EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
Service providers with a preschool program not delivered by a qualified teacher(e)
11
-
2
-
-
3
55
-
71
TOTAL
Total service providers with a preschool program
3 873
2 737
2 200
769
1 552
330
210
252
11 923
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
a. State/territory is derived from the provider's location.
b. Queensland data includes a small number of occasional care services providing a preschool program.
c. Includes 'Other'.
d. Some preschools are reclassified to centre based day care due to collection methodologies.
e. Includes not stated.

Appendix - estimates of 3 and 6 year old children in a preschool program

Table A3 contains the counts of 3 and 6 year old children who were enrolled in and attended a preschool program in 2019. Since 2016, the collection has included all children enrolled at a CBDC centre for which data was supplied in the CCSS, which has contributed to increased coverage of 3 and 6 year old children. However for some of the other jurisdictional data sources, the reporting of 3 and 6 year olds enrolled in a preschool program is not mandatory and as a consequence the collection does not have complete coverage.

The 3 and 6 year old preschool data were also influenced by the different service delivery and funding models that exist throughout Australia. For some states and territories, and within some sectors, 3 year old preschool programs are only available for children who meet special preschool program early entry requirements. Enrolments for 6 year olds differ according to primary school starting age (see the Explanatory Notes).

Due to the limitations associated with 3 and 6 year old preschool data, care should be taken when interpreting and using the table below for statistical analysis or comparison to other data. The presented data is incomplete and does not provide an accurate and consistent view of the 3 year old population within or across states and territories. The data is presented with the aim of continuing to improve the coverage in future collections.

A3 Estimates of 3 and 6 year old children in a preschool program(a)(b)

 NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
CHILDREN AGED 3 YEARS
Attending a preschool program
70 641
45 584
41 595
11 852
18 456
3 066
1 561
4 164
Enrolled in a preschool program
70 908
45 585
41 720
11 906
18 587
3 066
1 599
4 173
CHILDREN AGED 6 YEARS
Attending a preschool program
1 376
1 013
2 540
114
677
90
17
180
Enrolled in a preschool program
1 381
1 024
2 540
114
677
90
21
180
a. Cells in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data.
b. Due to the data limitations associated with 3 and 6 year old preschool data, care should be taken when interpreting and using the table for statistical analysis or comparison.

Appendix - jurisdictional data quality statements

The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC) uses national data standards to ensure the quality and consistency of data collected by jurisdictions for the collection (hereafter referred to as NECECC standards). The early childhood education and care national minimum data set (ECEC NMDS) was developed to provide the framework to support this data collection. The most recent ECEC NMDS (2018) sets the NECECC standards for data collected in 2019.

Where a jurisdiction was unable to align their data collection methods with the NECECC standards, the specific deviations have been detailed in the jurisdictional data quality statements below. This information is made available so impacts on data comparability between jurisdictions may be better understood.

Further information on the ECEC NMDS can be found on the AIHW METeOR website.

Australian Government

In 2019 the Australian Government was responsible for the provision of child care administrative data for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC).

Child care administrative data is information, collected in the child care subsidy system (CCSS), on child care services and the children and families that use Australian Government approved child care. The CCSS is the Australian Government's primary mechanism for managing child care payments. Child care administrative data contains payment and related data on centre based day care (which includes the former long day care type care) services related to the delivery of early childhood education programs (ECEP) - also referred to as 'preschool' or 'kindergarten'.

Child care administrative data

Institutional environment

While the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has portfolio responsibility for child care, responsibility for the operation of the Child Care administrative data is shared with the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS).

Child Care administrative data is collected for the purposes of administering Child Care Subsidy (which replaced the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR)) payments) under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth), A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) and Family Assistance Legislation (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Act 2017. Payments are administered by DHS.

Relevance

The CCSS is the national system that enables child care services to exchange child care information online with the Australian Government to enable the payment of Child Care Subsidy, on behalf of parents, to approved child care services. It also provides information about the national supply and usage of child care. All approved child care services must use the CCSS, but for the purposes of this Data Quality Statement, reference will be confined to centre based day care services required to meet the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Centre based day care services must regularly submit data to the CCSS, through software developed by registered third-party software providers, or directly via a web portal, and record child demographic, enrolment and attendance information.

Scope: In 2019, the scope of the Child Care administrative data extracted for the NECECC included:

  1. all children aged 3 to 6 years from all approved centre based day care services that operate in accordance with the NQF;
  2. the primary source of hours data (enrolled and attended) was drawn from centre based day care services standard data, in some cases jurisdiction data was used for hours (enrolled and attended) where it is available.


Coverage: All approved centre based day care services are required to provide data related to the administration of Child Care Subsidy (such as enrolments and attendances) through the Child Care Subsidy System. Centre based day care services approved for Child Care Subsidy but which do not operate in accordance with the NQF (such as former Occasional Care Services and Budget Based Funding services) and services not approved for Child Care Subsidy (such as state-run preschools) have been excluded from Child Care administrative data.

Data collection methods: Child Care administrative data (at the URL level for children and service level for centre based day care services) is drawn from the DHS Enterprise Data Warehouse using a URL collection methodology.

Timeliness

Initial Child Care administrative data for the reference week was extracted in October 2019. Additional data validation, integrity and cleaning checks were carried out prior to the submission of a final child care administrative data extract to the ABS around 1 month after the collection date.

The reference week used was Monday 29 July 2019 – Sunday 4 August 2019.

Accuracy

Centre based day care services are required by A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) and Family Assistance Legislation (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Act 2017 legislation, to submit certain records (weekly enrolments and attendance records etc.), for all children in attendance at the service. Record details, such as child dates of birth and reference numbers as well as service client IDs, are checked and cross-referenced. This ensures there can only be one current enrolment at a service for the same parent/guardian and child combination.

This results in:

  • high accuracy for child demographic details such as name, date of birth and address information etc. and the child's associated attendance records
  • high accuracy for children's ECEP attendance as it is assumed that all children attending a quality centre based day care service are receiving an Early Childhood Education Program.
     

Data on customer Indigenous status is held within the DHS data warehouse. Within the DHS data collections, families may identify as Indigenous or choose not to provide this information. Those families who choose not to identify are classified as ‘non-Indigenous’ rather than ‘unknown/not stated’ for the publication, as per previous years.

Coherence

The collection of child URL data ensures duplications are minimised and the total child count is as robust as systematically possible. Deviations between the NECECC standards and child care administrative data collected are outlined in the table below:

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Preschool program fees chargedData on preschool fees are not collected separately, and centre based day care services fees are used as a proxy.
Preschool program received from a qualified teacherThe CCSS does not record which staff member delivered ECEP or where centre based day care services may have waivers in place. It is assumed that all centre based day care services are delivering ECEP in accordance with requirements contained within the National Quality Framework.
Service operating weeksIn some cases the service operating weeks was not stated. It is a legal requirement that centre based day care services must operate for at least 48 weeks per year, so not stated was imputed to be 48 weeks.
Hours attended and offeredThe Child Care Subsidy was introduced on 2 July 2018, and it was not mandatory for services to start reporting hours attended until the fortnight ending 14 January 2019. Due to the fact that attended hours is relatively new data, hours enrolled have been used as a proxy for attended and offered hours.
 

Accessibility

Privacy and confidentiality requirements within family assistance law limit the publication of Child Care administrative data at certain granularities. De-identified aggregate data (which includes Child Care administrative data) are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website. A selection of Child Care administrative data is published quarterly and is available on the Australian Government DESE website www.education.gov.au.

Information source

The information in this report has been sourced from the Australian Government DESE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the Australian Government DESE website www.education.gov.au.

New South Wales

In 2019, New South Wales (NSW) was responsible for two data collections in relation to early childhood education programs, both of which collected data using a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology:

  • NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE): 'Government School Census'
  • NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE): 'Early Childhood Education (ECE) Annual Preschool Census'.


In January 2017, the NSW Government introduced Start Strong, a new community preschool funding model. Start Strong is a needs-based funding investment aimed at making 600 hours of preschool participation more affordable. Start Strong targets funding to children enrolled in community preschools who are aged 3 years or over, with additional equity funding directed to children who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or from low-income families as well as children with disabilities and/or additional needs. Additional loadings are also provided to children in outer regional, remote and very remote locations as well as children with additional language needs.

A) Government School Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the Government School Census was NSW DoE. Data for the Government School Census were collected under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

Relevance

The data collected by NSW DoE enabled reporting across the NSW government schools sector for a variety of reporting requirements, as well as to measure progress against Australian Government ECEC targets and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reforms.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Government School Census included all children enrolled in an early childhood education program or an Early Intervention class at a government school in NSW. Children are eligible to enrol at a government preschool if they turn 4 on or before 31 July of that year. Priority is given to children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are unable to access other children's services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from families who experience financial hardship. While the majority of children are aged 4 or 5, if there is spare capacity, places may be offered to 3 year olds.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid primary contact teachers and School Learning Support Officers delivering early childhood education programs at government schools in NSW. Only primary contact teachers were considered in-scope for the National ECEC Collection.

Children enrolled in an Early Intervention class at a NSW government school have been included in the Government School Census since 2012. Early intervention classes provide early childhood education in a preschool setting for children with a disability.

Coverage: All government schools in NSW participated in the Government School Census.

Data collection methods: The 2019 Government Schools Census collected data using a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Government School Census is an annual collection and in 2019 was undertaken on 2 August, with a two week reference period of 29 July to 9 August. Completion of the data processing and validation stage took approximately 3 months after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

All NSW DoE government school-based preschools were required to participate in the Government School Census by completing an online census form. There were three sections to the preschool component of the Government School Census:

  • general preschool data (e.g. number of children enrolled, number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)
  • class or group data (overall session details for service and individual enrolment and attendance by child, along with daily fees paid, date of birth, sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, language background other than English, refugee status, disability status, health care card status and suburb)
  • teacher data (e.g. qualifications and length of employment).


Information on Indigenous status was provided by a child's parent or carer on the standard NSW Government preschool enrolment form. In 2015 the Indigenous status question on the form was changed to match the standard national question, with users required to select one of four answers corresponding to the first 4 values of the ECEC NMDS item Person-Indigenous status. The corresponding Indigenous status question on the Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) system matched the standard national question. Schools were required to answer the question by selecting a single value from an on-screen drop down list. The values available for selection comprised the first 4 values of the ECEC NMDS as well as a supplementary value Unknown/Not Provided to accommodate instances where the parent or carer did not provide this information on the enrolment form. Several records for school-based preschools did not distinguish between Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children. Records for these children were coded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin not further defined.

During the collection period, NSW DoE extracted children's details from the ERN system. Preschool teachers checked enrolment data, allocated children to class groups and entered enrolment details for any children missing from the ERN. Teachers also entered additional information, such as Health Care Card status, fees paid and attendance, and then electronically submitted the census to the secure DoE Collection portal.

NSW DoE ensured that all preschools submitted compulsory data. Preschools were notified about the data collection through the regular Principals' newsletter and reminder emails. Detailed instructions on collecting and entering the data using the secure DoE Collections portal were available to preschools at all times during the survey period. The online census contained a number of validation rules to prevent inconsistencies and omissions. During the data collection period, preschool support workers could phone NSW DoE to clarify counting rules and data collection procedures. In addition, data anomaly reports were generated identifying problems such as incorrect age, low attendance or duplicate children. All anomalies were checked and data corrected if required. Signoff was required from all Principals whose school provided an early childhood education program.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2019 Government School Census were comparable with data collected in 2018, as both collections were undertaken using a URL data collection methodology. Children enrolled in an Early Intervention class at a NSW government school were included in the Government School Census for the first time in 2012. An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards.

Deviations between the National ECEC Collection standards and data collected from the Government Schools Census are outlined in the table below.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Address line (Child)Full child address information was not collected for a very small proportion of children; only the suburb/town/locality name. This impacted on the ability to determine child disadvantage status and remoteness classifications, which may affect comparability across jurisdictions.
Early childhood education program hours enrolled per week (Child)Derived as most government preschools operate 6 hours per day. The system allows enrolment to be entered as half day or full day.
Early childhood education program hours attended per week (Child)Derived as most government preschools operate 6 hours per day. The system allows attendance to be entered as half day or full day.
 

Interpretability

NSW DoE preschools were notified about the Government Schools Census through the regular Principals' newsletter and reminder emails. Detailed instructions on collecting and entering data using the secure NSW DoE Collections portal were available to preschools at all times during the collection period.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Government School Census for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.
 

B) Early Childhood Education (ECE) Annual Preschool Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the 2019 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Annual Preschool Census is NSW DoE. Data for the ECE Annual Preschool Census was collected under Funding Specifications, which are contracts with each service provider outlining the terms of renewable funding under the Early Childhood Education Grants Program. These preschools and mobile preschools are regulated under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations. 

Relevance

The data collected by NSW DoE was used for state government reporting commitments and to assist with the evaluation and planning of service provision. For preschools, the information obtained was used to determine funding for the following year. The data were also used for a variety of State and Commonwealth reporting requirements, as well as to measure progress against Commonwealth ECEC targets and COAG reforms.

Scope: The scope of the ECE Annual Preschool Census included all children aged 0 to 6 years enrolled in an early childhood education program regulated and funded by NSW DoE. Services are required to give equal priority of access to children who are at least 4 years old on or before the 31 July in that preschool year and not enrolled or registered at a school; children who are at least 3 years old on or before 31 July and from low income or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families; children with English Language needs; children with disabilities; children who are at risk of significant harm (from a child protection perspective). There is no order of priority assigned to the list above.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid workers employed in services that were regulated and funded by the NSW DoE.

Coverage: Participation in the ECE Annual Preschool Census was mandatory for NSW Government-funded preschools. The collection included NSW Government-funded (but not necessarily NSW Government-run) preschool services, including preschools operated by Catholic and Independent schools, preschools operated by local governments, and community-managed preschools. Early childhood education programs not funded by the NSW Government, including some preschools delivered in non-government schools, were not in scope of the collection. These services are not excluded from applying for NSW Government funding, provided that they meet eligibility criteria, consistent with the objectives of universal access. As and when any of these services do enter into a funding agreement with the NSW Government under the Early Childhood Education Grants Program, they are thereafter required to participate in the ECE Annual Preschool Census.

The majority of early childhood education programs in NSW are delivered by commercial Centre based day care (CBDC) centres that receive minimal, non-ongoing funding from NSW DoE. As a result, no data was collected from these services by the NSW Government as part of the ECE Annual Preschool Census. Data on commercial CBDCs were collected by the Australian Government using the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS).

Service providers that were registered for the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) were requested to provide information in the ECE Annual Preschool Census only for children who did not receive the CCB or the CCR.

Data collection methods: The 2019 ECE Annual Preschool Census used a URL collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ECE Annual Preschool Census was undertaken in 2019 from 22 July to 25 August, with a reference period of 29 July to 9 August. A reference fortnight was adopted to reflect the preschool delivery model in NSW whereby delivery of an early childhood education program can vary between weeks. Data collected in the reference fortnight was then derived by NSW DoE to a one week reference period for data items expressed in units of time, e.g. Child-early childhood education program hours enrolled. The data validation and processing stages were completed approximately three months after the collection date, at which time the data was delivered to the ABS.

A small number of services in NSW experienced extenuating circumstances during the 2019 representative fortnight. In those instances, NSW have accepted what happened in the other census week as a proxy for child attendance only.

Accuracy

In 2016 DoE transferred the census collection function to its Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS). ECCMS is the online system used by DoE and service providers to manage early childhood service contracts and funding. The integration of the census function into ECCMS provided a number of benefits compared to the previous system:

  • improved data security through use of the Australian Government's AUSkey system to authenticate users
  • online management of user roles and permissions to control access to various features and functions
  • improved screen designs, workflow, system-based validations and logging of user activity
  • a data structure based on a service location entity to accommodate the delivery model for mobile services
  • re-specification of data items to align with NMDS definitions, measurement scales and reporting obligations.
     

In 2017, address validation was introduced at data input for child addresses.

There are four main sections to the census component of ECCMS:

  • Service and location details (drawn from core ECCMS and not editable by users)
  • Service location operating hours
  • Individual child details, e.g. name, address, daily fees, low income status, enrolment and attendance
  • Individual worker details, e.g. qualification field and level, main role, main work activity.


Information on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status was provided to the community preschool by a child's parent or carer in accordance with the record keeping requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. However, the wording of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status question and values available to select as an answer varied between preschools. The corresponding Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status question in ECCMS matched the standard national question. Services were required to answer the question by selecting a single value from an on-screen drop down list. The values available for selection comprised the first 4 values of the NMDS as well as the supplementary value Not Stated to accommodate instances where the parent or carer did not provide this information to the Service.

After completing data entry, and prior to data submission, a user with a defined level of authority must enter a declaration that the entered data is correct. Following data submission DoE undertook a data validation phase whereby submitted data were cross-checked for consistency with service operational characteristics and past submissions. Where large variations or unusual data was apparent, service providers were contacted to confirm data accuracy. If data was incorrect the census was reopened to allow the user to correct and resubmit the data. All data validation rules were coded into SQL procedures, and DoE maintained an anomalies database to track communications, and the status of potential errors.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected in 2019 were comparable with data collected in 2018. In 2019, data items continued to be collected at the lowest (most granular) level of the service delivery hierarchy, i.e. service location (introduced in 2016).

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the National ECEC Collection standards and data collected from the ECE Annual Preschool Census. Deviations between the National ECEC Collection Standards and data collected from the ECE Annual Preschool Census are outlined in the below table.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Address line (Child)Full child address information was not collected for a very small proportion of children; only the suburb/town/locality name.
Early childhood education program hours attended per week (Child)Derived as the product of service location operating hours (Service Provider) and days attended (Child) and adjusted to a reference week.
Early childhood education program hours enrolled per week (Child)Derived as the product of service location operating hours (Service Provider) and days enrolled (Child) and adjusted to a reference week.
Early childhood education program delivered by a qualified teacher indicator (Service Provider)Derived. A service was considered to have delivered an early childhood education program by a qualified teacher if there was at least one worker at the service recorded as a qualified early childhood teacher.
   

Interpretability

NSW provided a range of information and support to service providers throughout all stages of the collection. These included:

  • regular emails to services in the lead up to and during the collection phase in 2019
  • a dedicated census webpage providing summary information, portal access and links to resources and contact information.
     

Detailed instructions on the process of data entry, including explanations and examples of concepts, were provided online within the Census application via summary 'tooltips' and extensive online help. DoE also provided a separate ECE Annual Preschool Census Quick Reference Guide. During the 6 week collection phase service providers could also contact a dedicated 1300 phone number and email for assistance.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ECE Annual Preschool Census for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.
 

Information source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from the NSW DoE in consultation with the ABS.

Victoria

In 2019, Victoria was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the 2019 Kindergarten Census.

2019 Kindergarten Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the 2019 Kindergarten Census was the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET). Data were collected in accordance with Funding and Service Agreement requirements.

Relevance

The 2019 Kindergarten Census was conducted to enable reporting of key data across the Victorian Early Childhood Education and Care sector, as well as to collect data to meet national reporting requirements.

Scope: The scope of the 2019 Kindergarten Census included all children aged 3 to 6 years of age who were enrolled during the reference period in DET funded kindergarten programs for children in the year prior to school. The only data for 3 year-olds are the children who are aged 3 years when they are attending the kindergarten program in the year before school.

Coverage: Participation in the collection was mandatory for service providers with a current Funding and Service Agreement with DET, therefore full coverage of kindergarten programs delivered through these service providers was achieved. Funded services comprise the vast majority of kindergarten service providers in Victoria. A small number of centre based day care (CBDC) centres operating programs for children in the year before school were not funded by DET and as a result, no data were collected from these services.

Data collection methods: The 2019 Kindergarten Census used a unit record level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The 2019 Kindergarten Census reference period was 29 July to 3 August. The collection commenced on 5th August and was conducted for approximately 6 weeks. Data processing and validation for the 2019 Kindergarten Census took approximately 3 months after the collection date after which time the data was submitted to the ABS.

Accuracy

Data was collected from services via DET's online Kindergarten Information Management (KIM) system. Services provided data for the 2019 Kindergarten Census through a workflow which included validation and completeness checks.

As part of the Kindergarten Census, data is collected on the indigenous status of children. This is a mandatory question which must be answered for each child record. Parents or carers can choose not to disclose the status of the child.

In 2017, Victoria began collecting enrolment hours for children in CBDC (previously known as Long day care), improving the accuracy of this data element in the DET data submission. Previously, attendance hours were used as a proxy measure for enrolment hours.

Coherence

Victoria has had a URL collection methodology in place since 2011, which means that data collected in 2019 is comparable with previous years to 2011.

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the 2019 Kindergarten Census are outlined in the table below.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Fees charged (Child)Fee data collected from Centre based day care services relates to the total Centre based day care enrolment rather than the actual kindergarten fee and kindergarten hours.
Management type (Service provider)The legal entity status of the funded organisation reported by each service provider (excluding Independent schools) was used as a proxy measure for management type. This may not have produced consistent classifications of management type for all service providers. Independent schools were categorised using the ‘funding status’ flag in the DET funding system and assigned a management type of Code 6: Independent school, regardless of the legal entity status of the funded organisation.
 

Interpretability

Extensive explanatory information was provided in DET's online KIM system and on the DET website. If service providers required clarification about the collection, they were also able to contact their regional office or the KIM helpdesk.

DET provides information on funding criteria and data collection responsibilities in the publication 'The Kindergarten Guide', which is available on the DET website http://www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/providers/funding/Pages/kinderfundingcriteria.aspx.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the 2019 Kindergarten Census for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from DET Victoria in consultation with the ABS.

Queensland

In 2019, Queensland (Qld) conducted the annual Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census (ECECSC), which collected childcare enrolment data, workforce data, and preschool program and enrolment data using a Unit Record Level (URL) data collection methodology.

Early Childhood Education and Care Services Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the 2019 ECECSC is Qld Department of Education (DoE). Data for the 2019 ECECSC were collected under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld), the Education and Care Service National Law 2011 (Qld) and the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).

Relevance

Data collected from the ECECSC enables Qld DoE to report on a variety of matters, such as the performance of the early childhood education and care sector to the Qld and Australian Governments and the community. The data are used to provide evidence for policy and program development and planning and to monitor outcomes of early childhood initiatives such as the department's Workforce Action Plan and the implementation of the Education and Care Services National Law.

Scope: The 2019 ECECSC includes all children who were enrolled in a licensed or approved child care service or State-delivered kindergarten program provided by a government school or through distance education. This included children that were enrolled in Centre based day care (CBDC), Kindergarten, State-delivered kindergarten, Limited Hours Care, eKindy, Family Day Care and School Aged Care Services at the time of the ECECSC.

Only children aged 3 to 6 who were enrolled in a preschool program were considered in-scope for the Collection. However, data on 3 year olds is not likely to reflect the full 3 year old population in preschool. Data on 3 year olds were likely only collected if a 3 year old was enrolled and attending a kindergarten program specifically aimed at children in the year before full-time schooling (i.e. aimed at 4 and 5 year olds).

The scope for data collected on workers through the ECECSC included all staff, both paid and volunteer, engaged in approved or licensed child care services that consented to their information being provided. Only primary contact teachers were considered in-scope for the Collection.

Coverage: The 2019 ECECSC achieved a 100% coverage of all approved service providers in Queensland. This includes all funded and unfunded services.

Data collection methods: The 2019 ECECSC collected data for funded approved programs using a URL collection methodology. Data for unfunded programs was supplied to the ABS by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment from the Childcare Subsidy System (CCSS).

Timeliness

The ECECSC is an annual collection and in 2019 was undertaken in the week commencing 29 July 2019. For all service providers the reference period was 29 July to 4 August 2019. Completion of the data processing and validation stages occurred in the 2 months following the collection, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

For the 2019 ECECSC, data were collected from service providers via an online survey tool.

As part of the internal validation process for 2019, Qld DoE included online guides as well as explanatory notes within the online census to assist service providers with definitions and responses. Edit checks were built into the online census, which ensured that valid data were supplied. Data supplied by service providers also underwent a range of validation and edit checks post enumeration to ensure that the information was complete, internally consistent and fell within fixed known parameters.

Since 2015, Qld DoE has required a response to the Indigenous Status question for kindergarten children. This has eliminated issues with missing data from some records from earlier years and significantly reduced instances of "unknown" values for this item.

Coherence

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the 2019 data for Queensland and the NECECC standards.

Interpretability

Qld DoE provided a range of information to assist in the collection and reporting of data, such as explanatory notes for providers. Explanatory notes, together with printable copies of ECECSC collection forms for staff, were available from the Qld DoE website https://earlychildhood.qld.gov.au/about-us/publications-and-research/early-childhood-education-and-care-services-census

Accessibility

Data sourced from the 2019 ECECSC Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website. Data from the ECECSC are published on the Qld DoE website (https://qed.qld.gov.au/det-publications/reports/earlyyears/Pages/default.aspx)

Information source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from Qld DoE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available at the Qld DoE website https://earlychildhood.qld.gov.au/about-us/publications-and-research/early-childhood-education-and-care-services-census.

South Australia

In 2019, South Australia (SA) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the Annual Census of Children's Services (ACCS).

Annual Census of Children's Services

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the ACCS is SA Department for Education (department) Data for the ACCS were collected under the Education Act 1972 (SA) and the Education Regulations 1997 (SA).

Relevance

Information gathered by the ACCS included patterns of service usage and characteristics of children and families. The data were required by the SA Government for forward planning and the analysis of needs and gaps in current service provision. The data from this collection also enabled reporting across the SA early childhood education and care sector.

Scope: The scope of the 2019 ACCS included children aged 3 to 5 years who were enrolled and attending (or expected to attend) a government managed or government funded preschool service (including integrated centres with a child care service), or a funded preschool program operating in non-government child care centres or schools. Out of scope were early childhood education services that receive no funding for their preschool program from the department.

Children who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, and children under the guardianship of the Minister for Education, are eligible under the department’s Preschool Enrolment Policy to commence a government managed or government funded preschool after their third birthday and are entitled to up to 480 hours of preschool in the two years before full-time school. These children have been included as in scope.

Some funded preschool programs operating in non-government child care centres or schools also provide preschool to 3 year old children. The Department does not obligate these services to provide data for these children in the ACCS unless they are enrolled in a preschool program in their year before full time school and are receiving preschool funding from the Department for these children. Any data received for 3 year old children from these non-government services (regardless of whether they are in their year before full-time school) in the ACCS was submitted in the Collection.

Coverage: In 2019, the ACCS achieved full coverage of all government managed and government funded preschools, including Independent and Catholic schools with funded preschool programs, and funded non-government child care centres with a preschool program. Unfunded Independent and Catholic school managed preschool providers and Centre based day care (CBDC) centres with no department funded preschool program are not invited to participate in the ACCS. There are a relatively small percentage of South Australian children who have received a preschool program delivered by one of these unfunded services.

Data collection methods: The 2019 ACCS used a unit record level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ACCS is an annual collection and in 2019 was undertaken with a submission due date of 16 August 2019 and a reference period of 29 July to 9 August 2019. This reference fortnight was adopted by the department to reflect the preschool delivery model in SA. Information collected during this reference fortnight was then derived by the department to a one week reference period to enable comparison between SA and other jurisdictions for the Collection. The data processing and validation stages took approximately 2 months after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

In 2019, the ACCS collected data through the use of two systems, one for non-government preschool providers and the other for department preschools. The Early Years System (EYS) is a web-based preschool administration system used by department preschools in SA. Non-government preschool providers that are funded by department use the Non-Government Preschool Data System (NGPDS) to submit the data required for the ACCS.

The NGPDS has been developed as a web-based preschool data reporting system that serves the dual purpose of collecting data requirements for grant funding administration as well as to satisfy State and National reporting obligations. Both the EYS and NGPDS have been developed with the capability of importing data from other administrative systems (e.g. Child Care Management Systems) to provide the facility of reducing respondent burden and input error. Both the EYS and NGPDS have validation rules built in to ensure that services are submitting accurate data that is compliant with the NECECC standards.

The department collated data collected from both systems using a data repository known as the Early Childhood Data System or Data Administration Centre (DAC). The DAC allows for Data Reporting and Analytics staff to administer a data collection and to run checks and validations on the data received from service providers. The DAC also performs geographical coding on residential addresses of child records and sequential match coding for children enrolled in preschool across multiple services. Service provider details are stored and maintained in the Location Services System (LSS), from which data for the 2019 Collection were also obtained.

In identifying the Indigenous status of the child, department asks the standard question "Is the child of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?" on the Preschool Enrolment Form.

Coherence

For the purposes of the Collection, most data collected through the 2019 ACCS were comparable with 2018 data. Due to systems developments and subsequent data improvements, some data collected in 2014 to 2019 may not be comparable to 2013 data. These years were undertaken using similar URL data collection methodologies.

Department preschools also transitioned to a single intake preschool enrolment policy in 2013, which impacted on counts in 2014. Children are entitled to access 4 terms of preschool in the year before they start school as follows:

  • If a child turns 4 years of age before 1 May, they may start preschool in Term 1 in that year
  • If a child turns 4 years of age on or after 1 May, they are eligible to start preschool from the beginning of Term 1 in the following year.
     

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the 2019 ACCS

Interpretability

SA provided a range of information to assist in the reporting of data, such as the 2019 ACCS Booklet and Coding Instructions. Key material was provided in the form of manuals and fact sheets to support the correct interpretation and explanation of concepts. The NGPDS is an intuitive system and user training has been provided via a webpage that contains user guides, video tutorials, and ACCS instructions. A dedicated EYS/NGPDS Support Team was in place to support users with technical issues or queries with either the EYS or NGPDS and the Data Management and Reporting team were available to respond to any data related questions.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACCS for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been provided by SA Department in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available on the SA Department for Education’s website https://www.education.sa.gov.au

Western Australia

In 2019, Western Australia (WA) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the WA August School Census.

WA August School Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the School Census is the WA Department of Education (DoE). Data for the WA August School Census were collected under the School Education Act 1999 (WA).

Relevance

The data collected through the School Census were used to meet national reporting requirements, including the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) and the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC). The data were also used to adjust school funding allocations where necessary and forward planning for the government and non-government school sectors.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the WA August School Census consisted of children who were attending a preschool program within a government or non-government school, including community based preschools operating under provisions of the School Education Act 1999.

Coverage: Full coverage was achieved for all registered and funded schools (both government and non-government) and community-based preschools operating under provisions of the School Education Act 1999. As preschool programs provided in Centre based day care (CBDC) settings are not funded or regulated by WA DoE, these service providers were not included in the WA August School Census.

Data collection methods: The 2019 WA August School Census used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The WA August School Census is an annual collection conducted in August. In 2019 the collection was undertaken on 2 August, and the reference period for all data was the week ending 2 August 2019. Data processing and validation took approximately ten weeks to complete after the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

Government and community preschools’ data were obtained through an administrative system, the Integris Student Information Database (SID) and a daily data harvesting process. The SID is the primary source of Unit Record Level (URL) data for public schools. The SID data were uploaded into the WA DoE online Student Census System where the data were checked, verified and endorsed as accurate by each school principal. For non-government schools, child URL data was extracted from school enrolment records at the census date. Non- government schools uploaded URL data using a comma-separated value file to the WA DoE's online Student Census System.

Following the validation checks detailed below, government, non-government and community preschool data collected through the WA August School Census were then stored in the Student Census System data warehouse, and extracted for the purposes of the Collection.

Internal validation processes for the WA August School Census occurred at three different points of the process. The WA DoE online Student Census System had a series of in-built validation rules, some of which required the school to edit data before continuing, while other rules generated warnings alerting the user to anomalies. A second set of validation processes were run by the WA August School Census team, using both routine and ad-hoc validation methods to examine data while it was assembled into working files. The third set of validation rules were built into the custom software which loaded the census data into the Student Census System data warehouse.

Data for the NECECC’s ‘Service provider organisation—early childhood education program delivered by a qualified teacher indicator’ data element are obtained using an annual Kindergarten Provision Survey that is conducted at the same time as the WA August School Census.

In relation to the identification of Indigenous status, the data are collected from primary carers at enrolment in preschool using a standard enrolment form question. The coding of the responses is as per the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), i.e. 1 - 4, and 9 for not stated or inadequately described. Schools' student information systems do not allow valid entries other than prescribed. WA is confident it achieves a very high level of accuracy of its Indigenous identification, with results showing a high level of concordance with other independent measures/estimates (e.g. ABS's ERPs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians). This is attributable to a strong push within the WA school education sector (in which most preschool resides) for targeted attention to the learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, the involvement of Aboriginal Education Officers in schools who liaise constantly with local Aboriginal communities and assist them to enrol their children where applicable, and a student-centred funding model in the WA public school system which provides a higher rate of funding for students (including those in preschool) who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students to address their needs. Schools' census data are also subjected to audit by the Department of Education.

Coherence

The 2019 data are fully comparable to the data collected in 2018.

Some other data have changed over time which has affected the comparability of data

  • From 2015, data about preschool hours enrolled and attended were each collected specifically for the reference week. In 2014, however, hours enrolled was collected in relation to a 'typical' week and hours attended was collected in relation to the reference week. Consequently, enrolled and attended hours data in 2014 were not fully consistent (e.g. there were some cases where attendance hours exceed enrolment hours or hours offered). The 2015 to 2019 data are not affected by this limitation.
  • From 2015, maximum preschool program hours available were specifically for the reference week, rather than for a 'typical' week as used in 2014.
  • In 2017, the ‘Child—hours of an early childhood education program received from qualified teacher/s indicator’ was collected for preschool students in WA government schools as part of a national trial. The data were only collected in 2017.
     

Data from 2014 to 2019 about preschool enrolment and attendance hours are not comparable to 2013 data due to a materially different methodology:

  • From 2014, URL data about preschool hours enrolled and attended were collected as part of the WA August School Census for all children enrolled at government, non-government and community-based preschools. This process replaced the less refined process used in 2013 that collected child attendance information in aggregated form through a series of questions in the Kindergarten Provision Survey. Attendance hours data from 2013 are therefore not comparable to attendance hours data in 2014 to 2019.
  • From 2014, maximum preschool program hours available were collected from service providers via the Kindergarten Provision Survey rather than being derived from the number of hours enrolled by preschool students (used prior to 2014).


Due to WA policy on enrolment and attendance there may be an under-count of children enrolled in preschool. This is because in WA, a child is only considered to be enrolled if they were enrolled at the school and had either attended at least one half-day in the two weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or were absent due to illness or extended holiday with a known return date before the end of the school term.

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the WA August Student Census are outlined in the table below.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Enrolment reference period (Child)The child must be enrolled at the preschool on the WA August School Census day (2 August 2019) and must have either attended at least one half-day in the two weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or had documented evidence that the absence was due to illness or extended holiday leave with a known return date before the end of the school term.
Definition of enrolment (Child)In WA, a child is only considered to be enrolled if they were enrolled at the preschool on the WA August School Census day (2 August 2018) and had either attended at least one half-day in the two weeks immediately preceding the WA August School Census day or had documented evidence that the absence was due to illness or extended holiday leave with a known return date before the end of the school term.
Residential address (Child)For children for whom a valid address was not provided, the child’s address (SA1 and meshblock) information was imputed using the SA1 and meshblock address information for the service provider.
 

Interpretability

For all schools, the collection instrument contained significant guidance and computation rules to prevent inconsistent responses in relation to prior data entries. WA DoE and non-government sector staff who assisted schools to complete the WA August School Census were trained to provide phone and email support through the WA DoE Customer Service Centre system.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the WA August School Census for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been provided by WA DoE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available on the WA DoE website http://www.education.wa.edu.au.

Tasmania

In 2019, Tasmania (Tas.) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool programs, the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection.

Tasmania 2019 ECEC Collection

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection was the Tasmanian Department of Education (DoE). Data for the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection were collected under the Education Act 2016 (Tas.).

Relevance

The data collected by Tas. DoE in the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection were used to report on Tasmanian achievements against performance targets, as well as progress against Australian Government ECEC targets and COAG reforms. For preschools, the information obtained was also used in determining the funding of services by the Tasmanian government.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection consisted of all children enrolled in a preschool program in 2019. The 2019 Data Collection was managed in conjunction with the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office and Independent Schools Tasmania in order to completely cover preschool children at non-government schools accurately.

Data for 3 year old children were included in the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection if they were granted an exemption to start kindergarten before they turned 4 years old as at 1 January 2019. This exemption is granted if:

  • The student is assessed as gifted, or
  • The student was previously enrolled in a pre-school program interstate in 2018 or 2019, to enable contiguous school education.
     

Coverage: All registered Tasmanian schools, which is defined as all Government schools, Catholic schools, Independent schools, and Education and Care providers registered as a school in Tasmania, participated in the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection.

Data collection methods: The Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection was conducted using a unit record level (URL) data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection is an annual collection and in 2019 was undertaken on 2 August 2019, with a reference period of 29 July to 9 August 2019. This reference fortnight was adopted by Tas. DoE to reflect the preschool delivery model in Tasmania. This reference fortnight was then derived by Tas. DoE to a one week reference period to enable comparison with other jurisdictions for the Collection. Completion of the data processing and validation stage took approximately 2 months after the collection date, at which time data were delivered to the ABS.

Accuracy

The process of obtaining and processing data in Tasmania commenced with government service providers uploading information from each child enrolment form into the Tas. DoE student management system 'EduPoint' which stored the information in a data warehouse. The data warehouse contains in-built data quality checks that provided timely data feedback to schools. Data from the warehouse were then used to populate the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection. Non government schools enter student, timetable, attendance and teacher information into a secured online application.

The collection data of government and non-government service providers were reviewed and cleaned by Tas. DoE staff. This process included numerous system quality checks such as confirming student ages, hours enrolled, and verifying duplicate enrolments across schools. A declaration stage is included in the data collection application, which each principal was required to review and declare that all data were true and correct. This set of students became the authoritative dataset for the census date. Preschool data were extracted from this census application to match with all other data collated for the Collection. Extensive quality assurance occurred for the attendance and teacher qualification data, to ensure that data were consistent with other Tas. DoE data sources.

All teachers in Tasmania must be registered by the Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania. As a result of the registration process, some long-term teachers have teaching certification or relevant 3 year degrees. The registration process requires all long-term teachers to demonstrate, through teaching experience, that they meet the criteria for an equivalent 4 year degree standard. If a long-term teacher meets this criterion, the teachers are deemed to have a 4 year teaching qualification for registration purposes.

Some specific validation methods applied in the data collection application and by Tas. DoE included:

  • data code compliance with the NECECC standards
  • detection of inconsistent data coding, e.g. teachers with no qualifications and students with dates of birth outside expected date ranges, indicating coding errors
  • comparisons of student enrolment counts with previous year data
  • review of school summary tables by student data by various categories, i.e. Indigenous status, enrolment hours
  • students in repeat years of preschool.


At enrolment in Tasmanian government schools, the national ACARA schools’ enrolment question is asked: "Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?" The responses available are: No; Yes, Aboriginal; Yes, Torres Strait Islander; or Yes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. If a student or family doesn't answer the question, then the response is "Not Stated". For Non-government schools, the same question is asked, with available responses from the non-government Kinder enrolment system: Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander origin; Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal origin; Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin; Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin; and Not stated/inadequately described. Again if there is no response it is coded as "Not Stated".

Finally Tasmania undertakes significant quality assurance on the data to ensure correct coding. Overall student numbers are in line with expectations and each school is reviewed to ensure the question and responses are representative.

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection were comparable with data collected in 2013 to 2018, as all collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Collection are outlined in the table below.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Maximum preschool program hours available (Child)The data element ‘Preschool program attendance hours’ was used as a proxy for this data element.
Child attendance and enrolment dataHours of attendance were derived from the kinder class times. Attendance was recorded per student per class.
 

Interpretability

To support data custodians participating in the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection, a guide was sent to service providers for the collection application to assist users with the data collection system.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Tasmanian 2019 ECEC Data Collection for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from Tas. DoE in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available at the Tas. DoE website http://www.education.tas.gov.au or email kinder@education.tas.gov.au.

Northern Territory

In 2019, the Northern Territory (NT) was responsible for one data collection in relation to preschool services, the Age/Grade Census (the Census), which collected data using a unit record level (URL) data collection methodology.

The 2019 Census consisted of three components:

  • Student Census
  • Staff Census
  • Preschool Census (Students and Staff).

 

Age/Grade Census

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the Census is the NT Department of Education (DoE). Data for the Census were collected under the Education Act (NT) 2016.

Relevance

Data collected from the Census enables reporting on NT schools and the early childhood education sector for a variety of reporting requirements. The preschool data collected from this census is used for the Supplementary Recurrent Assistance Enrolment Data Collection, the Report on Government Services, National Partnership Agreements, government budget paper estimates and the NT DoE annual report.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component of the Census consisted of all children enrolled in preschool and who have attended a government or registered non-government preschool at least once during the 4 week reference period 17 June - 2 August 2019 (the reference period did not apply during the NT school holidays 1 July - 19 July 2019). One remote school operates on different school terms and had the reference periods 10 June – 16 August 2019.

The preschool data is then collected about these children based on a two week reference period (29 July – 9 August 2019); for instance, their hours offered is calculated over the two week reference period not the four week reference period. Their attendance is calculated over the census week.

In the NT, children are eligible to enrol in preschool at the beginning of the year if they turn 4 years of age on or prior to 30 June of the same year. Children in very remote schools may be enrolled in a preschool program when they turn three years of age, provided they will be accompanied by a parent who will remain with them for each session. This is an important strategy to engage children in remote areas in early childhood education programs.

Coverage: All government and registered non-government preschools participated in the Census. Although the data collection methodology utilised for non-government preschools differed from that applied to government preschools, the data collected were at the same level of detail and are comparable with data from government preschools.

Centre based day care centres that deliver an early childhood education program were not within scope of the 2019 Census, therefore the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) was utilised for coverage of this sector.

Data collection methods: The 2019 Age/Grade Census used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The Census is an annual collection undertaken on the first Friday in August each year; in 2019 it occurred on the 2nd of August. The four week reference period is used to determine which children are to be included in the collection.

Whilst data is collected on the 2nd of August 2019 it then goes through a number of validation processes by the schools and NT DoE before being submitted to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in November 2019.

Accuracy

Child level data: In 2019, data extracts from the student Census record level information were submitted from each government and some non-government schools' Student Administration and Management System (SAMS). Non-government schools without SAMS provided child, teacher and service provider record level information via Excel spread sheets. Additional data for staff and preschool (students and staff) were collected through an online survey tool for government schools. All data was processed centrally for inclusion in the census collection.

It should be noted that seasonal attendance patterns for the NT show lowest attendance during August. This is partially due to sporting and community events and the transient lifestyle of remote and very remote populations.

After data were processed by NT DoE, school principals were required to check the data, edit if necessary, and confirm accuracy. Business rules guided the processing of data. All three components of the Census required formal sign-off from school principals for the final data lodgement, stating it was a true and accurate representation of their school for the reference period. This ensured the quality and validity of the data being provided. Internal validation of the early childhood data was subsequently undertaken.

Detailed validation processes used by NT DoE in 2019 were as follows:

  • School validation: schools were provided with a validation report and were required to confirm the information was correct. Schools were required to carry out validation reporting to maintain data quality, targeting such areas as child Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, gender and age.
  • System validation: the validation process included historical comparison of trends, comparison of enrolments and schooling level proportions, cross checking missing data and application of national reporting rules.


When a parent/guardian completes an enrolment form for a student to enrol in an NT Government school, the following question is asked in relation to their Indigenous Status:

QuestionResponse
Is the student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?No
Yes, Aboriginal 
Yes, Torres Strait Islander 
Yes, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
 

Where the answer is not recorded, schools are asked to follow up with the parent/guardian to confirm the Indigenous status of the child. This is done throughout the year and also forms part of the validation process for the Census. Any students without a valid Indigenous status recorded are flagged in validation reports. If the parent/guardian does not wish to disclose the Indigenous status it is recorded as Not Stated. Non-government schools are not required to use the same enrolment form as government schools so the wording may vary slightly. 

Coherence

For the purposes of the National ECEC Collection, data collected through the 2019 Census were comparable with data collected in 2018. These collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. Deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected from the Census are outlined in the table below.

Deviation of collection from the National ECEC Collection standards

Data ElementDetails of Deviation
Early childhood program hours attended (Child)Attended hours for NT Government preschools are derived from early childhood program sessions attended per week as per NECECC standards specifications. Attended hours from NT Non-Government preschools are recorded as the actual number of hours of preschool that a child attended including non-instructional times such as recess, tea breaks and lunch breaks where a child was under the supervision of the school.
Date of birth (Child)Where date of birth was unavailable, it was estimated at 01/01/YYYY.
Address—statistical area level 1 (SA1) code (Child)Geo-coding for some child addresses was less accurate where instances of remote residences or street names were not supplied. For those child addresses that did not code to SA1, SA2 was provided. Otherwise unknown or incomplete addresses were coded to the NT not stated code, 79999998999
Address—statistical area level 1 (SA1) code (Service Provider)Geo-coding for some remote preschool addresses was less accurate where street names were not available. Unknown or incomplete addresses were coded to NT not stated code, 79999998999
   

Interpretability

The NT provided a range of information to service providers to assist in the collection and reporting of data, such as manuals and fact sheets, to support correct interpretation and definition of concepts. Detailed reports and instructional papers on the requirements, processes and rules for submitting data through the Census were provided to service providers to assist with data provision.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the Census for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been sourced from NT DoE in consultation with the ABS.

Australian Capital Territory

Government data quality statement

Institutional environment

The ACT Education Directorate is responsible for the collection of National Early Childhood Education and Care collection for the ACT public schools and Independent Schools. Early childhood data was sourced from the August ACT public schools Census

Data for the 2019 census were collected under the Education Act 2004 (ACT), the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT), and the ACT Childcare Services Standards 2009.

Relevance

Preschool enrolment data collected from the August Census of ACT public schools contributed to a reporting requirement of the National Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Collection.

Scope: The scope of the early childhood component sourced from the ACT Public School Census included all children between 4 and 6 years of age attending public preschools. It is ACT policy that preschool is only provided to 4 and 5-year-olds and this policy has been applied more strictly since 2016, resulting in no/zero 3-year-olds being included in the 2018 and 2019 collections except Koori children and 3-year-old Accelerated Entry - Gifted and Talented children enrolled in the year before full time schooling for 15 hours per week.

Children enrolled in a preschool program at Jervis Bay School were included in the census as that school is administered by the Directorate on behalf of the Australian Government. Children who were absent for more than 4 continuous school weeks prior to the census date were included if the principal received written documentation signed by the child's guardian indicating that the child would return to school.

Coverage: Within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), full collection coverage for 2019 was achieved for all ACT Government managed schools.

Data collection methods: The 2019 ACT Public School Census collected data using a URL data collection methodology for the following statistical entities:

  • Child: Data at the child record level
  • Service providers organisation: Data at the service provider record level
  • Worker: Data at the worker record level.

 

Timeliness

In August each year, the Directorate conducts a census of public school enrolments. The 2019 ACT Public School Census was conducted on Friday 2 August 2019. The reference period of 29 July to 9 August 2019 was adopted by the Directorate to reflect the preschool delivery model in ACT for the collection of attendance data from the ACT public preschools. The reference fortnight was then derived by the Directorate to a one-week reference period to enable comparison with other jurisdictions for the National ECEC Collection. Completion of data processing and validation stages took approximately 3 months from the collection date, at which time the data were delivered to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Accuracy

Child level data: On 2 August 2019, the ACT public schools enrolment data was captured from the school administration system (SAS) and cross checked with schools for accuracy. Individual child information was captured from data supplied via an enrolment form which was entered in the student administration system (SAS) by school staff. The principal of each school was required to sign off on their school's total enrolment count by sex and year level. Any inconsistencies were followed up for correction.

Key approaches undertaken by the ACT to manage the quality of its data processing for 2019 are as follows:

  • ACT's system included automatic edits and mandatory fields, such as date of birth, sex, family details, attendance status and Indigenous status
  • ACT cross checked addresses for the preschools ensuring one existed for each service provider
  • Child addresses were geo-coded to produce valid SA1 codes and MB


The ACT carried out validation of 2019 data in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • Manual data entry was avoided where possible through an automatic transfer of child information when the child had previously attended another ACT public school
  • Date of birth was checked against year level and outliers were followed up
  • Duplicate records of one child attending two schools were followed up
  • Data checks included matching back to the original census data and running aggregate counts for each field.
     

Child level attendance data to meet the reporting requirements of the ECEC collection for the two-week reference period was extracted from a new student administration system which is in the process of implementation. Care should be taken when comparing this data with data from previous years and from other jurisdictions.

Service provider level data: The process of obtaining service provider information from public preschools in the ACT was managed through the school administrative system.

Worker level data: Teacher data were sourced from SAS and extracted at the same time as child data. Data were provided on the teacher who was normally assigned to the class and recorded by the school in SAS. Once extracted from SAS, teacher data were on-provided to the Teacher Quality Institute who linked the teacher with the highest level and field of relevant qualification from information within their database.

TQI also performs manual qualification assessments of all teachers prior to their employment. Teachers are required to provide certified copies of all qualification documents so that a qualification assessment can be undertaken.

Coherence

Data collected through the 2019 early childhood components of the ACT Public School Census were comparable with data collected in 2018, as both collections were undertaken using a consistent URL data collection methodology.

An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis, taking into account any data elements that are not consistent with the NECECC standards. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected.

Interpretability

ACT Preschools were notified of the data collection through the Directorate intranet. The Directorate provided government schools with a manual to assist users with the Census Module, including instructions and validation techniques.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACT Public School Census for the 2019 Collection of ECEC are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been provided by Directorate in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the Directorate website

https://www.education.act.gov.au/
 

ACT Catholic Preschool Collection

Institutional environment

The organisation responsible for the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection was Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, ACT. Data for 2019 were collected under the Education Act 2004 (ACT), the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT), and the ACT Childcare Services Standards 2009.

Relevance

Scope: The scope of the early childhood education component of the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection included all children between 4 and 5 years of age attending a preschool program in a Catholic school. Children who were absent for more than 4 continuous school weeks prior to the census date were included if the principal received written documentation signed by the child's guardian indicating that the child would return to school.

The scope for data provided on workers included all paid primary workers employed during the reference period at Catholic schools in ACT.

Coverage: The 2019 ACT Catholic Preschool Collection included all primary Catholic schools delivering a preschool program or programs.

Data collection methods: The 2019 ACT Catholic Preschool Collection used a URL data collection methodology for children and service providers.

Timeliness

The ACT Catholic Preschool Collection is an annual collection and in 2019 was undertaken on 2 August 2019, with a reference period of 22 July to 2 August 2019. Fortnightly data were converted to a one week reference period to enable valid and reliable national comparisons.

Accuracy

In 2019, data were obtained from a point in time sweep of enrolment and attendance data stored in the ACT Catholic School administration system (known as 'MAZE'). Catholic Education carried out validation of 2019 data using data from the MAZE administrative system and through consultation with Catholic Education personnel and service providers. Data from each Catholic school delivering a preschool was assessed by Catholic Education.

Indigenous students are identified at enrolment through the enrolment form. The information is not mandatory. Data is collected and stored in the MAZE administration system.

Coherence

The 2019 Collection was the seventh time Catholic preschool data were included. An analysis of the coherence of this collection with other jurisdictional collections should be undertaken on an individual basis. There were no deviations between the NECECC standards and data collected.

Interpretability

In 2019, the majority of data were collected by MAZE sweeps and Human Resources Employment extracts, cross checked with personnel at Catholic Education and Centres. Catholic Education liaised closely with the Director of each centre to verify details.

Accessibility

Data sourced from the ACT Catholic Preschool Collection for the 2019 Collection are published as part of Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0) and Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0.55.003) on the ABS website.

Information source

The information contained within this report has been provided by the ACT Education Directorate and Catholic Education in consultation with the ABS. Further information is available from the ACT Education Directorate website http://www.det.act.gov.au.

Appendix - state-specific year before full time schooling

Background

In 2016, a new state-specific year before full time schooling (YBFS) definition was developed to better reflect the YBFS concept needed for national reports by government. This state-specific YBFS definition uses the preschool and school age entry provisions of the state or territory in which the child usually resides. This improves on previous definitions by accounting for the differences across Australia in the age at which children are to be enrolled in school.

The state-specific YBFS definition has been created mainly to assist with the Report on Government Services (RoGS) and National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA). The new definition does not change the performance indicators for the current National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education – 2020.

Statistics for the state-specific YBFS definition have been included in Preschool Education, Australia since 2016 and replace the original YBFS definition based statistics published in prior years. The original YBFS definition included all children enrolled and attending a preschool program aged 4 years and only children aged 5 years who had not previously attended a preschool program as a 4 year old.

Calculating state-specific YBFS cohorts

Table A4 shows the state-specific age ranges for children in their year before commencing school. For six jurisdictions, children born over a specified interval of 12 months are included. However, for New South Wales and Victoria the interval is slightly broader with adjustment factors applied to account for the rates at which the youngest children in the interval proceed from preschool to school education in those states.

A4 State-specific YBFS age cohorts based on months and years of birth

State or TerritoryAge cohorts by month and year of birth
NSWAll children born 2 July 2013 - 31 December 2014 and adjusted counts for children born in the interval 1 January 2015 - 31 July 2015 (56%)
VicAll children born 2 July 2013 - 31 December 2014 and adjusted counts for children born in January 2015 (74%), February 2015 (63%), March 2015 (52%), April 2015 (41%)
Qld, WA, NTAll children born 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015
SA and ACTAll children born 1 May 2014 – 30 April 2015
TasAll children born 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2014
   

The preschool education statistics for the state-specific YBFS cohorts can be found in Tables 28 to 31 of the datacube in Preschool Education, Australia, 2019 (cat. no. 4240.0). These statistics are presented by the child’s state or territory of usual residence, which aligns with the place of usual residence basis for ABS population estimates and projections.

Population estimates for state-specific YBFS cohorts

Population estimates for the state-specific YBFS cohorts were created to allow reporting of population proportions within RoGS and NIRA with greater accuracy than would otherwise be possible.

The state-specific YBFS population estimates in Table A5 for all children were created by:

  • Distributing each state/territory’s estimated resident population (ERP) for children aged 3 to 6 years across individual months of birth according to birth statistics for the same time interval. The data used in these calculations were sourced from Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0).
  • The distributed ERP was then aggregated according to the state-specific YBFS cohort age ranges in each state/territory. The same adjustment factors were applied for NSW and Victoria as highlighted in Table A4.
  • Finally, a deduction was made for the number of children aged 4 and 5 years of age in the state-specific YBFS cohorts that were attending school in each state/territory. This deduction was based on counts reported in Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0).


For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the same process was used but with population projections from Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 to 2031 (cat. no. 3238.0) instead of ERP. This is because ERP for 30 June 2019 by single year of age are not currently available for this population.

A5 Population estimates in state-specific YBFS cohorts

 NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
6 598
1 389
5 469
995
2 303
617
1 427
177
Non-indigenous(a)
102 458
84 869
59 487
19 182
32 523
5 562
2 127
5 664
Total
109 056
86 258
64 956
20 178
34 826
6 179
3 554
5 840
a. Calculated as the total less Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Glossary

Show all

​​​​​​​Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Children are included in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counts if they are identified by a parent or guardian as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Annualised hours enrolled/attending

An estimate of the number of preschool program hours a child may have been enrolled/attending during the calendar year. It is calculated as a child's hours enrolled/attending in the reference week, multiplied by the number of weeks their service provider(s) operated in the calendar year.

Attendance

For the purposes of this publication, a child is considered to be attending a preschool program if the child was enrolled and present for at least one hour during the reference period. Children who did not attend a preschool program during the reference period (e.g. children who were absent due to illness or extended holiday leave) are not considered to have attended a preschool program.

Enrolment

A child is considered to be enrolled if they were offered a place, formally enrolled or registered in the preschool program and:

  • attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or
  • were absent during the reference period due to illness or extended holiday leave, but were expected to return.


A child is not considered to be enrolled if they were absent during the reference period and not expected to return to the preschool program.

Episode

An episode is the count of the occurrence of a specific characteristic. For example, a preschool 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.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

Estimated Resident Population is the official measure of the population of Australia and is based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months. Estimates of the Australian resident population by state and territory are generated on a quarterly basis by adding natural increase (the excess of births over deaths), Net Interstate Migration, and Net Overseas Migration occurring during the period to the population at the beginning of each period. Note that population figures included in this publication are preliminary and based on the 2016 Census. For more information, see the Explanatory Notes section of this publication, Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and Regional Population by Age and Sex, Australia (cat. no. 3235.0).

Fees

Fees refer to the actual tuition fees charged for the child to attend a preschool program after subsidies have been deducted.

Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD)

The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD) used in this release was developed by the ABS and ranks areas in Australia according to most disadvantaged to least disadvantaged using variables from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. A low score on this index indicates a high proportion of relatively disadvantaged people in an area. It cannot be concluded that an area with a very high score has a large proportion of relatively advantaged people, as there are no variables in the index to indicate this.

Indigenous status

See Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Management type

Preschool management type refers to the legal or social entity responsible for managing the delivery of a preschool program. The management type categories include the following:

Government managed

  • State and territory and local government managed: Services that are managed by the state, territory or local government. Excludes state and territory government schools.
  • State and territory government schools: Schools that are funded and managed by the respective state or territory government.

    Non-government managed

    • Private not-for-profit - community managed: Services that are managed by organisations based in the community through a membership made up of community members (e.g. the parents). The membership elects a management committee and the committee is accountable to the membership. No profit is distributed to the management committee or the members, and any surplus funds are redirected to the service.
    • Private not-for-profit - other organisations: Services that are managed by non-profit organisations such as charity organisations, consortium of charity organisations and church groups. Excludes Independent and Catholic schools.
    • Private for-profit: Services provided or managed by a company or private individual.
    • Independent schools: Non-government schools that are governed, managed and accountable at the level of the individual school and are not affiliated with the diocesan Catholic Education Office.
    • Catholic schools: Schools that are affiliated with the diocesan Catholic Education Office.
    • Other: Other services include employer sponsored services.
       

    Preschool program

    A preschool program is a structured, play-based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. This is irrespective of the type of institution that provides it or whether it is government funded and/or privately provided. Preschool programs are often referred to by other terms such as early childhood education, early learning or kindergarten.

    Qualified teacher

    A degree qualified early childhood teacher who meets the requirements of the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (the National Quality Framework). The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) publishes a list of approved and former approved early childhood teaching qualifications.

    Remoteness area (RA)

    Remoteness areas divide Australia into broad geographic regions on the basis of their relative access to services. They are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) which measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest Urban Centre.

    Sector

    Sector is a classification derived from the service activity type and management type characteristics of service providers.

    Service activity type

    The service activity type is the main type of service available from or provided by a service provider. Service activity types include:

    • Centre based day care (CBDC): A centre based day care service (known as long day care prior to 2 July 2018) is a centre based form of child care service providing all-day or part-time care for children (services may cater to specific groups within the general community). For-profit and not-for profit organisations, local councils, community organisations and employers may run these services. CBDC primarily provides services for children aged 0-5 years. Some centre based day care may also provide early childhood education and kindergarten programs and care for school children before and after school and during school holidays, where state and territory government regulations allow this. The service may operate from stand-alone or shared premises, including those on school grounds.
    • Early childhood education program: Comprises services providing a structured, play-based learning program, aimed at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. The terms most commonly used to describe early education programs which are subject to the National Partnerships Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (NP UAECE) in states and territories are:
       
      • Kindergarten – Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania
      • Kindergarten or Preschool – Victoria, South Australia
      • Preschool – New South Wales, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory
         

    Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

    SEIFA is a product developed especially for those interested in the assessment of the welfare of Australian communities. SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2016 Census information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. The SEIFA index used in this publication is the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD).

    State-specific year before full-time schooling (YBFS)

    The state-specific year before full-time schooling (YBFS) population is made up of an age range of children specific to each state based on that state’s preschool and school starting age provisions.

    Unit record level data collection

    Unit record level data collections contain data for each individual statistical entity in a collection population.

    Quality declaration - summary

    Institutional environment

    Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) is compiled with data from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. This collection is derived from administrative data provided by state and territory and Australian Government 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 in March 2020).

    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.

    Relevance

    This publication is, in part, conducted to support performance based reporting for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education – 2018–2020. It aims to compile child and service provider statistics from all service providers delivering an in-scope preschool program within Australia.

    The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection population includes:

    • Service providers 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.
    • Children between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive) at 1 July who 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.

    Timeliness

    The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection has been conducted annually since 2010. The census date for the collection is the first Friday in August each year. Some jurisdictions may adopt a 2 week reference period that needs to include the census week.

    A summary of jurisdictional collection reference periods can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of release).

    Accuracy

    Data for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection have been compiled according to national standards outlined in the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set in order to maximise consistency of data across the various jurisdictions. Alignment with these standards has not been completely achieved by all jurisdictions, 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 national standards.

    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 Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.

    Coherence

    Due to jurisdictional differences in coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set standards, the data presented in this iteration of Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) may not be directly comparable across all jurisdictions or with previous years.

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

    Interpretability

    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 early childhood education and care statistics.

    Accessibility

    If the information you require is not available from either the publication or the data cubes, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.