Short term ECE certainty welcome, but long term funding gap set to grow
Long term funding uncertainty remains for community and privately owned Early Childhood Education centres, despite welcome short term relief.
Government support for ECE continued with funding assurances to 31 May and guidance through to November announced yesterday, but with 47% of Early Childhood Council members surveyed saying parents had unenrolled children from their centres as they pick up the pieces after lockdown, issues on the horizon include:
- Loss of funding in November if enrolments fall from current levels
- Children’s attendance must stay above the reinstated Frequent Absence Rule levels, to avoid re-enrolment paperwork from parents and centres
Of most concern, the funding gap between community and privately owned centres and kindergartens is set to creep over 16% by July 2021.
“This isn’t about Kindergartens getting too much – we can’t understand why, when centres and other providers deliver the same quality care and education, there’s any funding difference at all. We appreciate the government’s support for the sector, but can’t follow their logic. As it stands, it’s not equal or fair,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.
“More than anything, this picture shows why a review of the ECE Funding model is needed,” said Mr Reynolds.