Union endorses call for universal access to early childhood education

IEU has joined with employers, advocacy groups and other unions in urging the Federal Government to endorse the recommendations in the Lifting the Game Report*. It was heartening to see so many different interest groups come together for a common cause. It is hoped the group will develop a campaign for universal access for all children in the lead up to the next federal election.

The Lifting the Game Report was commissioned by all of states to review and make recommendations to the government on the most effective method of improving outcomes for children in schools and beyond.

The review found that quality early childhood education makes a significant contribution to achieving education success in schools.

Recommendations include:

embedding foundations for future reform and improved education and life outcomes through a commitment to ongoing, adequate funding for Universal Access and the National Quality Framework

embedding in government policy that expanding access to quality early childhood for all children, with all three year olds having access to quality early childhood services for a minimum of 600 hours per year

the need to have a stable well supported and professional workforce with appropriate pay and conditions

improving parent and community engagement, and

targeting additional support for some children to support access equity and inclusion.

As a first step all participants agreed to sign a letter to be sent to the federal minister for early childhood. The report is on the agenda for the next COAG meeting where the authors have been asked to address the ministers.

The NSW State Government has recently announced new funding for capital works in preschools, however it still underspends per child as compared to other states. It is time for both state and federal government to commit to quality early childhood education.

*Lifting our Game Report of the Review to Achieved Educational Excellence in Australian School through Early Childhood Interventions, December 2017


Verena Heron
Industrial Officer