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Minister Rockliff Warned of Early Learning Changes to Education Act

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Thursday, 16 June 2016

Tags: Education, Early Learning

That the House:—

(1)           Notes:—

(a)           unlike mainland States, Tasmania does not currently have classified operational preschools in Early Childhood Education and Care services;

(b)           the statements made by Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP, in the House of Assembly on 14 June 2016 that, “Currently only about half of our young children participate in an approved learning program” is incorrect as the data used to come to this conclusion is inadequate and therefore inconclusive;

(c)           many children in Tasmania are already attending Early Childhood Education Care Services, including Long Day Care, Family Day Care, Launch into Learning and Playgroup, may not be included in data collected for enrolment rates at age three in early childhood education;

(d)           in fact, Early Childhood Education and Care and Kindergarten enrolments for 2015, indicate Tasmania has the highest percentage of children attending approved early learning programs, in the years before formal schooling, at 61%, which is the highest proportion of all States and Territories;

(e)           Tasmania already has the highest proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in preschool Kindergartens in the Country, and that with 2101 children from disadvantaged backgrounds attending Kindergarten this equates to 33.3% of all children;

(f)            there are many early learning service providers in Tasmania who would be willing to offer government subsidised preschool programs, but that opportunity has not been extended;

(g)           the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority recommended in their submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the National Education Evidence Base that the scope of the evidence base include data for “… all children, regardless of whether they attend early childhood education and care programs outside the home”; and

(h)           the Minister for Education and Training, Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP’s decision to extend the school starting age to 3 and ½ is, at this time, based on misleading data and a false premise.

(2)           Calls on the Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP, to take into account each and every submission received to the review of the Education Act and to likewise ensure he is equipped with accurate and up-to-date data and information before making sweeping changes that will inevitably affect the lives of every Tasmanian child and has the potential to see the demise of early learning education in this State.