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National Partnership Agreement on ECE – 15 hours

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Don’t panic about the 15 hours requirement!

Community Child Care Co-operative is aware that some services, especially preschools are concerned about how they are going to fill the requirement to offer 15 hours of preschool access to children in the year before school.

The National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education specifies that children, 12 months prior to full time schooling, should have access to a preschool program for 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year. The Bilateral Agreement on Achieving Universal Access to Early Childhood Education between the Commonwealth and the NSW Government specifies 15 hours/2.5 days access as a deliverable.

Community Services have confirmed to Community Child Care Co-operative that “the broad aim is to achieve 600 hours of access in the year prior to school, delivered in no less than two days per week”.

This means that preschools would have the option of  providing 2 days of 7.5 hours attendance or of achieving the 600 hours in some other way.

Community Child Care is aware that some preschools have looked at their service specification which states that they have to offer 2.5 days and may also have had this confirmed by Community Services staff.

Community Services have confirmed that the 2.5 days could be negotiable and that “the only limiting factor on whether a children’s service wants to increase its service delivery capacity is the licensing regime”.

Community Services in currently engaging in consultations with the sector about the Universal Access commitment and in particular about possibilities for achieving the 15 hour goal. Community Child Care Co-op is part of that consultation process. Many of our members have contacted us with concerns about a 2.5 day model and we will ensure Community Services hears these concerns.

Community Child Care wishes to remind services that the goal of achieving the 15 hours of universal access is set for 2013. There is still time before then for models that will work for services to be explored.

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