NSW preschools under pressure

As predicted by IEU members, NSW preschools are closing their doors or cutting back next year due to the new Preschool Funding Model which removes support for three year olds and directs it to four year olds and disadvantaged families.

The problem is particularly acute in rural and regional areas. IEU NSW ACT ECS Vice President Gabe Connell has been quoted on the issue in a number of regional media outlets, including the Border Mail and ABC Hunter Valley.

“The Union’s Gabrielle Connell said some are even considering switching to become long day care centres,” ABC online reported:

“She said that would be devastating for the sector.

“They do have a grim future – we are going to fight and fight and see if we can turn that future around and make it a positive outcome,” she said.

“So we are not going to give up.

“We need to have a big injection of funds so we can lower the fees and also increase wages.

“The Union says preschools are concerned families will be pushed away from the sector as fees go up to cover losses under the new Preschool Funding Model.

“Ms Connell says it is not too late for the government to reverse the changes, and the industry is keen to work towards a long term funding solution.

“We would like to work with the state government on this.

“We are hoping they will consult with this sector and get some real answers and solve these problems instead of just shutting us out, we really need them to listen to us.”

They do have a grim future – we are going to fight and fight and see if we can turn that future around and make it a positive outcome.

A survey of providers by the Community Child Care Cooperative found the majority believed they were likely to suffer viability problems without additional support funding. More than half of preschools had already raised fees for three-year-olds and a further 25% intend to do so.

A number of preschools across NSW are exploring ways of changing their service to ensure ongoing viability.

In the past year KU Children’s Services has been reviewing their preschool model and has made the decision that a number of their services will change their model of operation from a traditional preschool of 40 weeks a year to a 48 to 52 week a year model.

They will be operate up to eight hours a day as compared to the usual preschool model of seven to seven and a half hours per day.

This will mean changed working conditions for a number of staff. Some staff will be redeployed to other KU preschools, some staff will move to long day care conditions and other will seek redundancy.

The IEU is working with KU on these industrial issues affecting staff.