Where are these 500 new preschools on school grounds?

In light of the NSW State Election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Coalition announced that they will fast-track 500 new preschools on school grounds. The list of these 500 new preschools was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 7 March 2023.

Of that list of 500 schools, 489 were sites of existing schools (as shown below in the map) and 11 were new schools. 

It is very important to note that this list of 500 proposed new preschools is coming from the NSW Coalition and not necessarily in their role as the NSW Government (currently in caretaker mode since 3 March 2023).

Moreover, the NSW Parliament passed the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 in October 2022, which governs the associated $5.8b over 8 years to financially support the creation of new long daycare services and preschools in areas where supply does not sufficiently satisfy demand.

This aspiration must be understood in the context of the NSW Coalition Government's Universal Pre-Kindergarten by 2030 whereby up to 130,000 preschool children will be enrolled each year for up to 5 days a week across long daycare services, community preschools as well as preschools on school grounds. And since February 2023, 72 pilot sites have begun.

That said, the associated board members, the commissioned person and the market monitoring reports required by  the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 are still in progress. For example, the board members were  only announced on 2 March 2023 and are yet to formally have their first meeting. And neither the commissioned person nor the independent market monitoring reports (that will show where existing and future demand are not met by existing and future supply) have yet been announced.

As such, ACA NSW is not convinced that that list of published 500 preschool sites is entirely accurate.

Nevertheless, ACA NSW strongly supports these independent market monitoring reports so that oversupply can be avoided as there are already existing 3,421 long daycare services, 777 (standalone) preschools and 154 preschools on school grounds across New South Wales. ACA NSW hopes the NSW Government will learn from the negative experiences during 2017-2019 when versupply of services ironically increased fees for parents.

The following video discussions may also be of assistance to provide context and further insights:

  • with the NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning (the Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC) about the NSW Coalition's 500 preschools on school grounds proposal (see 7 March 2023 video); and
  • with the NSW Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning (Prue Car MP) about NSW Labor's 100 preschools proposal (see 9 March 2023 video). 

For any further information/clarification, members can contact the ACA NSW team via 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.