With NSW Minister Mitchell on the Future of NSW's Early Childhood Education & Care

In anticipation of the NSW State Election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Minister for Education & Early Childhood Learning (the Hon Sarah Mitchell MLC) was ACA NSW's guest at its virtual town hall to envision the Future of NSW's Early Childhood Education & Care.

The live event last night enabled 169 registered participants (about 33 were registered as parents) to listen as well as pose questions to Minister Mitchell.

Questions included:

  1. This NSW Coalition election policy plans to create 500 new preschools on school grounds. But to do so, a re-elected NSW Coalition Government will need to recruit up to 2,000 educators and teachers. Where will these educators and teachers come from given the worsening labour shortages? And how will the NSW Coalition Government guarantee that such educators will not be at the expense of long daycare services and parents, especially those who need educators to educate and care for children 0-2 year olds?

  2. In 2023, 88% of NSW services are rated either Meeting, Exceeding or Excellent in terms of the National Quality Standards.Yet state and federal government representatives have publicly said that 40%-45% of children are not developmentally ready upon starting school. Is the Quality Rating not working or are the governments wrong?

  3. In the context of Australia’s global PISA educational ranking (last year being when Australia was ranked below the average of all OECD nations), should parents, services and NSW be concerned that NSW and Australia continue to have no preschool outcomes measures despite 11 years of the current National Quality Framework?

  4. By way of a proxy example, before COVID, in 2019, according to the NSW Department of Education, there were 20,977 breaches/non-compliances registered across long daycare, family daycare and out-of-school-hours-care services. Yet for that same year, there were only 11 penalty infringement notices issued. That’s 0.05% (not even 1%). Although we need confidence in the government’s regulatory system, could this be an example of excessive workload on educators/teachers and therefore also services?

ACA NSW will attempt to answer/address/direct the remaining 67 questions posed/received and will publish the answers/responses on this page as well as distribute them to all registered participants.

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