Pressure on the Minister to invest in preschool

Wednesday, 04 December 2019

Today’s international education testing results show investment in early education is more important now than ever.

The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment has shown Australian students are falling behind, with our school children recording the worst results in reading, maths and science since international testing began.

The evidence is clear that one of the most effective ways to improve long-term educational outcomes is ensuring access to a quality preschool program before school.

Children who access preschool have been shown to achieve better school results in later years, and this is particularly true for disadvantaged and vulnerable children. The OECD’s own research recognises that children who receive an early education are likely to have better outcomes throughout their education.

When a student starts behind, they are unlikely to catch up – it is likely they will not meet minimum NAPLAN standards in Years 3, 5 and 7.

Unfortunately rather than listening to the evidence about the benefits of a two-year preschool program, the Morrison Government is considering cutting federal funding for four year old preschool.

This third-term government has continually refused to provide long-term funding for one year of preschool. They’ve begrudgingly rolled funding over six times in six years, with the current funding running out next year.

The State of Early Learning in Australia 2019 report released last week also revealed Australia now ranks 11 out of the 21 surveyed OECD countries for investment in early learning, and Federal Government investment per child fell between 2016 and 2019 – a shocking indictment of the Liberals’ record.

In the face of today’s results, the Federal Minister for Education must put Commonwealth money on the table to lock in permanent preschool funding at next Wednesday’s COAG Education Council meeting.

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