Investment in early childhood is critical to improving Australia's education outcomes, independent review finds

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Community Education & Schools Political Queensland Government

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Joint state and territory media release 

State and territory Early Childhood Education Ministers have called on the Commonwealth Government to recognise the clear link between high quality early childhood education and children doing better at school by committing to ongoing, adequate and sustainable funding for early childhood education.

Ministers today welcomed Lifting Our Game, the final report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools through Early Childhood Interventions.

The report shows that children who participate in quality early childhood education have improved school results, are less likely to need additional support in school and are more likely to complete Year 12.

Attendance at preschool is also linked to better health and employment prospects and the benefits are even greater for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

The report highlights that investing in early childhood education will pay off in the long run – with a return of $2 to $4 for every dollar invested.

Over the past decade, Australian governments have worked collaboratively to achieve important early childhood education and care reforms, including the introduction of Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in the year before school and a regulation, assessment and rating system under the National Quality Framework.

Despite this achievement, the Commonwealth Government’s ongoing funding commitment to early childhood education remains uncertain.

The Review’s report notes that there have been five successive short-term National Partnerships to support universal access to early childhood education in the last ten years. This uncertainty hampers effective planning and investment in early childhood education services, and ultimately impacts on outcomes for children.

The independent Review, commissioned by all states and territories, was conducted by Ms Susan Pascoe AM and Professor Deborah Brennan. The report and findings complement the Commonwealth Government's Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, chaired by Mr David Gonski AC, which is due to report in March 2018.

Further detail on the Review process is attached. The final Review report can be found at https://det.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/news/Documents/pdf/lifting-our-game-report.pdf

The Review

Leaders of government departments from all states and territories commissioned the independent Review to consider how best to strengthen early childhood education in Australia to foster improved student achievement and whole of life outcomes. The Review was led by Ms Susan Pascoe AM and Professor Deborah Brennan. Further detail on the Reviewers is below.

In addition to considering national and international research and evidence, the Review travelled to each jurisdiction in Australia and met with a range of stakeholder organisations representing educators, employers, unions, parent groups, advocates and health and welfare providers. The Review also met with local and international experts, and leaders of government departments.

The Reviewers

Ms Susan Pascoe AM

Ms Pascoe is President and Chair of the Australian Council for International Development, Chair of the Community Director’s Council and the Principals Australia Institute Certification Advisory Board. 

Ms Pascoe was the inaugural Commissioner for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Australia's first national, independent regulator of charities from 2012–2017. Prior to this appointment, Ms Pascoe was Commissioner of the State Services Authority in Victoria where she chaired regulatory and governance reviews. She was appointed in 2009 as one of three Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Black Saturday Bushfires.

Ms Pascoe’s earlier career was in education. She served as President of the Australian College of Educators, CEO of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. She chaired the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and has chaired or served on a number of education, health and government boards. 

Ms Pascoe’s significant achievements were acknowledged in 2007 when she was appointed Member of the Order of Australia for service to education. In 2016 she was awarded the Leadership in Government Award for her outstanding contribution to public administration in Australia.

Professor Deborah Brennan

Deborah Brennan is Professor in the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), UNSW. Her research focuses on gender and social policy, especially early childhood education and care, family benefits and parental leave. She is an international expert on the impact of private markets on human services. She works closely with government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups.

Her current research on the connections between care marketisation and reliance of low-paid migrant labour is funded by the Australian Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. Professor Brennan has provided advice to governments in Australia, Canada and the UK and has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Oxford University and Trinity College Dublin. A former president of the Australian Political Science Association and the Inaugural President of the National Association of Community Based Child Care, she is the author of several books and numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and reports on gender, politics and family policy. 


Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace

 
Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training :
PO Box 15033, City East Qld 4002, Brisbane
07 3237 0111
Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training
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