Is support scheme money well spent?

So here we are nearly through Term 1. The year is already passing so quickly and where are we?

Great news for all early childhood teachers who are members of the Union, with the IEU paying our subscriptions to the Teacher Learning Network

This means we can access professional development which counts towards our 20 hours of NESA approved time. There are so many options with TLN – online learning, face to face and recorded content.

Tell your colleagues it’s time to join the IEU not just to take advantage of this great offer but for help with enterprise agreements, awards and industrial advice.

Preschools across NSW have begun implementing the Start Strong funding model which is supposed to ensure all children in NSW can participate in 600 hours of quality preschool education in the year before school, no matter where they live or what their circumstances.

Already though we are hearing stories from preschools that any extra funding is being eaten up by staff wages as hours are increased to meet the 7.5 hours a day. I have heard of some teachers being sent home five minutes after the children leave. How can this work? Industrially it is a nightmare for many services, particularly rural services who struggle with attracting staff anyway.

All preschools have been invited to participate in the Start Strong Sector Support program being rolled out across the state.

The purpose of Start Strong Sector Support is to assist preschools in the rollout of Start Strong. It will help preschools to maximise the number of children enrolled in 600 hours of quality early childhood education per year, enable fee reductions and optimise the financial sustainability of preschools.

Preschools on the safety net must participate while others can choose to participate. We have seen similar schemes in the past with little benefit to preschools. Would the money be better spent as increased funding to preschools, especially as there is no guarantee that the Start Strong Program will still be with us in 2018. What then? I guess we will have another funding model and yet another support scheme.

How does every other state in Australia get it right and NSW is still struggling? The fight continues.

Gabe Connell
Vice President ECS