Latest release

Preschool Education, Australia

Statistics about preschool education, including enrolment, attendance, fees and service providers

Reference period
2019

Key statistics

In 2019

  • the number of children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program increased by 0.7% compared with 2018 (up to 335,804 children)
  • the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program increased by 9.5% compared with 2018 (up to 19,577 children)
  • almost 40% of children enrolled in a preschool program in remote/very remote areas were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • almost 21% of all children enrolled in a preschool program resided in the fifth SEIFA quintile (least disadvantaged) while 17% resided in the first quintile (most disadvantaged)

Children

  • there were 335,804 children aged 4 or 5 years enrolled in a preschool program, an increase of 2,272 (0.7%) since 2018
  • preschool program enrolments increased in Victoria (1.9%), the Northern Territory (1.0%), the Australian Capital Territory (1.0%), New South Wales (0.8%), and Queensland (0.7%) and decreased in South Australia (2.7%), Tasmania (0.8%) and Western Australia (0.5%) between 2018 and 2019
  • four in five children enrolled were aged 4 years and one in five were aged 5 years
  • over 83% of all 4 year old and 21% of all 5 year old children were enrolled in preschool programs
  • over 95% of children enrolled were enrolled for 15 hours or more per week

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

  • there were 19,577 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program, representing 5.8% of all children enrolled in preschool programs
  • the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in preschool programs increased by 9.5% compared with 2018
  • increases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolments were seen in Queensland and Tasmania (both 16%), Victoria (13%), New South Wales (9%), the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory (both 8%), and South Australia (1%). Enrolments decreased in Western Australia (1%)
  • over 95% of enrolled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were enrolled for 15 hours or more per week
  • 47% of enrolled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were enrolled in preschool programs in inner and outer regional areas followed by major cities (39%) and remote and very remote areas (14%)
     
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Enrolments by sector

  • there were 168,105 children enrolled only in preschool programs in centre based day care services representing 50% of all children enrolled, compared with 49% in 2018
  • there were 135,301 children enrolled only in preschool programs in dedicated preschools representing 40% of all children enrolled, compared with 43% in 2018
  • there were 32,402 children enrolled in preschool programs across more than one provider type representing 10% of all children enrolled, compared with 9% in 2018
  • in dedicated preschools 39% were enrolled in government preschools, 59% were enrolled in non-government preschools and the remaining 1% were enrolled in more than one preschool
  • enrolments across service delivery models varied by state and territory. Western Australia (75%), the Northern Territory (65%) and Tasmania (64%) had the highest proportion of children enrolled in dedicated preschools, while Queensland (68%), New South Wales (66%) and Victoria (46%) had the highest proportion of children enrolled in preschool programs in centre based day care services
     
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Hourly fees

  • there were 254,075 children enrolled in preschool programs who paid $4 or less out of pocket per hour after subsidies were deducted, of these 73,729 children paid no fees
  • there was a slight decrease in the number of children who paid $4 or less per hour, declining from 77% in 2018 to 76% in 2019
  • there were 81,651 children (24%) enrolled in preschool programs who paid $5 or more per hour compared with 77,424 (23%) in 2018
     
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Hourly fees by sector

  • there were 110,813 children enrolled in dedicated preschools who paid $4 or less per hour, of these 60,706 paid no fees
  • there were 116,830 children enrolled in preschool programs in centre based day care services who paid $4 or less per hour, of these 11,555 paid no fees
  • 45% of all children enrolled in dedicated preschools paid no fees, 37% paid $1-$4 per hour, and 18% paid $5 or more per hour
  • 7% of all children enrolled in preschool programs in centre based day care services paid no fees, 63% paid $1-$4 per hour, and 30% paid $5 or more per hour
  • of children who attended more than one provider type, 5% paid no fees, 77% paid $1-$4 per hour, and 18% paid $5 or more per hour

Service providers

  • there were 11,990 service providers delivering a preschool program to children aged 3 to 6 years, an increase of 2.5% compared with 11,695 in 2018
  • almost 36% of preschool program providers were dedicated preschools
  • nearly two-thirds (64%) of preschool program providers were centre based day care services
  • service delivery models differ across the states and territories. New South Wales and Queensland have largely centre based day care delivery models (accounting for 79% and 72% of preschool program providers respectively). Dedicated preschools made up the highest proportion of providers in Tasmania (63%), the Northern Territory (61%) and Western Australia (59%).

Data downloads

Preschool education, Australia, 2019 - summary tables

Preschool education, Australia, 2019

History of changes

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22/05/2020 - Further detailed data added:

  • expanded key findings on preschool education were published.
  • four appendices (Service Provider Coverage, Estimates of 3 and 6 year old children, Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements, State-Specific Year Before Full Time Schooling) were added in the Methodology.
  • a datacube containing thirty two tables was added.


23/04/2020 - Replacement pages added. Changes include:

  • replacement of summary tables 1-4 and table A2
  • revision of key findings to reflect changes to these tables.


This replacement content corrects a processing overcount identified in the original release. The correction impacts all tables and affects data for Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory and Australian totals (please note there may also be some slight variation from previously published data for other jurisdictions due to perturbation). Users who have stored previous versions of the publication or data cubes are advised to delete existing copies and replace with the new content.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4240.0.