Microdata and TableBuilder: Preschool Education, Australia

Detailed statistics about preschool education suitable for in-depth analyses

Accessing the data

Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia is compiled with data from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC). The 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. The collection date is the first Friday in August each year and has been conducted annually since 2010 and contains statistics on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia.

Statistics in this release may not be fully comparable with previous releases due to differences in coverage and methodologies. Caution should therefore be used when comparing the data over time.

Information about the collection, including Methodology are available in the Preschool Education, Australia. A description of the collection framework is in National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods. Impacts of COVID-19 in the 2020 collection can be found in Impacts of COVID-19 of Preschool Education, Australia

The following microdata products are available from this collection:

  • TableBuilder – produce your own tables and graphs tables and graphs
  • DataLab – analyse detailed microdata

The microdata products cover the following reference periods:

  • TableBuilder – Child level data for 2013 - 2020. Worker level data for 2013, 2014 and 2016, and Episode level data for 2013
  • DataLab – Child and Episode level data for 2013 - 2020

Information about TableBuilder and the DataLab, and other general information to assist users in understanding and accessing microdata, are available from the Microdata Entry Page.

Access to the data is available through TableBuilder or the DataLab, please follow the steps on the How to Apply for Microdata page on the ABS website. If you are already a registered TableBuilder user, please use the TableBuilder - Log in page.

Data and file structure

A complete list of data items for TableBuilder and the DataLab can be accessed from the Data downloads section. These contain details for each data item including the full output classification and any special codes used.

Users intending to apply for access to the DataLab should ensure the data they require, and the level of detail required, are available and applicable for the intended use. The test file would be helpful for this purpose.

Using TableBuilder

TableBuilder User Guide

The TableBuilder User Guide provides you with information about how to create basic tables, custom groups, graphs and large tables. It also includes practical examples and video tutorials.

Confidentiality

A confidentiality process called perturbation is applied to the data in TableBuilder to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses. See confidentiality in the TableBuilder user guide.

Using the DataLab

The DataLab is an interactive data analysis solution available for users to run advanced statistical analyses, for example, multiple regressions and structural equation modelling. 

The DataLab environment contains up-to-date versions of SPSS, Stata, SAS, R and Python analytical languages. Controls in the DataLab have been put in place to protect the identification of individuals and organisations. These controls include environmental protections, data de-identification and confidentialisation, access safe guards and output clearance. All output from DataLab sessions is cleared by an ABS officer before it is released. See About the DataLab for more information.

Please read the Responsible Use of ABS Microdata Guide before applying for access. 

DataLab test files

A test file is available in the Data downloads section. 

The test file mimics the structure of the detailed microdata in that it has the same data items and allowed values. This allows users to become familiar with the data structure and prepare code/programs before applying for, or beginning a DataLab session.

All data in the file is false, created through a randomisation process, therefore it cannot be used for analysis.

Data downloads

Data files

History of changes

Show all

10/09/2021

This replacement contains corrections to the 2018 and 2019 microdata in TableBuilder and the DataLab due to a revision in the Indigenous Status for Centre based day care services. The correction affects data for all states and territories and Australian totals. Dedicated preschools and total children counts are not affected. We recommend you check your analysis to see if you are impacted.

28/05/2021

Addition of new reference period 2020 Preschool Education, Australia 

18/08/2020

Replacement of Data Item List 2018 and 2019 - DataLab due to file not downloading. There has been no content changes to this data item list.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

Microdata: Preschool Education, Australia is compiled with data from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC). 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.

The impacts to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector from COVID-19, in particular to the services delivering a ‘quality’ education program have not changed the underlying concepts of the data collected in the 2020 NECECC. Jurisdictions were provided with clarifying statements to ensure that enrolment and attendance data in an early childhood education program included online or remote learning, in addition to the usual face-to-face delivery.

Impacts of COVID-19 in the 2020 NECECC can be found in Impacts of COVI-19 of Preschool Education, Australia

A comprehensive quality declaration for each jurisdiction can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional data quality statements of Preschool Education, Australia and past releases. The National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods publication provides detailed information from the early years of the NECECC, however was no longer updated after the 2013 NECECC.

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 partly, conducted to support performance based reporting for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education – 2018–2021. 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, (including attended an early childhood education program online or remotely due to COVID-19 impacts), or be absent due to illness or extended holiday leave or due to COVID-19 impacts 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 of Preschool Education, Australia.

Accuracy

The microdata contains finer levels of detail for data items than published in Preschool Education, Australia. For information on the level of detail provided, please refer to the TableBuilder and DataLab data item lists in the Data downloads section.

Steps to confidentialise the data made available in TableBuilder are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content. However, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from TableBuilder with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available through the TableBuilder confidentiality page.

Data for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection have been compiled according to the 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 Preschool Education, Australia within the Explanatory notes and Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional data quality statements.
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 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

Further information about the data sources, terminology and other technical aspects are available in the Methodology of Preschool Education, Australia and National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods

Accessibility

Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata should read the How to apply for Microdata web page before applying for access. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

For further information, contact information is available on the Microdata contacts page.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4240.0.55.003.