Early childhood update

New funding – in the right direction

The IEU welcomes the recent NSW Government announcement of a $15.9 billion investment in early learning.

The government is to be congratulated for recognising the important role that early childhood services play in the development of our youngest citizens.

This funding commitment aims to provide families with affordable and accessible quality childcare, creating more places in local communities and investing in the workforce.

It will also include prenatal support, health checks for all children and additional hours of pre-kindergarten.

While extra funding in the sector is always welcome, the IEU would like to see details of how it will be implemented, particularly in the pre-kindergarten year.

Investing in more centres creates the need for more teachers and educators to work in them. With the current workforce crisis, there isn’t enough staff for the existing services.

This workforce crisis must be addressed by investing in the people who work in the sector, attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers with improved pay and conditions.

Part of the NSW Government’s package includes $25,000 scholarships to study early childhood degrees. But again, what incentives will there be to encourage graduates to take up a long-term career in early childhood education?

Graduates qualified to teach 0-12s can achieve much higher salaries teaching in primary schools.

“Until we recognise that degree-qualified early childhood teachers must be paid the same as their colleagues in schools, the drain from the early childhood sector to primary schools will continue,” IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said.

“We look forward to seeing further details from the NSW Government on just how it plans to ‘grow and support’ our workforce.”

For more information on the government’s announcement see: education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education/early-years-commitment

KU focus groups

KU Children’s Services are in the process of consulting with their staff through a series of focus groups in preparation for the renegotiation of the KU Enterprise Agreement (EA).

IEU organisers have also been talking with KU members to understand what KU teachers need in this new EA.

If you have not already spoken to us and you would like to contribute to these discussions, please email: kate@ieu.asn.au or phone 8202 8900.

Kate Damo
Sue Osborne