Will future ECEC have defined & measurable children's outcomes?

Since the introduction of the National Quality Framework in January 2012 (over 11 years ago), there is an uncomfortable truth that NSW's Quality Ratings outcomes may not reflect children's actual outcomes.

And for preschool children, one of the many concerns for NSW is how its Quality Ratings (especially QA1) do not consistently and structurally reflect superior outcomes compared to other jurisdictions despite NSW requiring up to 4 early childhood teachers per service.

Quality Ratings were effectively in question when the NSW Department of Education in September 2022 and the Federal Minister for Education in October 2022 expressed concerns that 40%-45% (respectively) of children were not developmentally on track upon starting school.

The following federal and state governments' initiatives may provide hope for significant positive improvements for the future, especially for children individually and collectively:

  1. the then Federal Coalition Government established a preschool Expert Advisory Group in 2021. But despite not producing a report by 2022, the now Federal Labor Government changed the Advisory Group's terms of reference to "provide ongoing consultation and provide advice and support to the [Federal] Minister, through the [Federal] Department of Education";
  2. notwithstanding the underlying focus on the financial aspects of the Federal Government's ACCC Pricing Inquiry in Childcare and the NSW Government's IPART Review into Early childhood education and care affordability, accessibility and consumer choice, both also are contrasting financial and regulatory aspects against children's outcomes;
  3. the Commonwealth Productivity Commissioner has been tasked to improve or support "developmental and educational outcomes for Australian children, including preparation for school", as well as "outcomes for children and families experiencing vulnerability and/or disadvantage, First Nations children and families, and children and families experiencing disability"; and
  4. through 72 pilots and more anticipated activities, the NSW Government's $5.8b Universal Pre-Kindergarten also seeks to address their concerns about children not developmentally on track upon starting school.

These are regularly discussed at ACA NSW's:

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