Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) is compiled with data from the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (the Collection). The Collection is derived from administrative data provided by state and territory and Australian education departments and the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. A comprehensive quality declaration for each jurisdiction can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of the release).
For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
The Collection is, in part, conducted to support performance based reporting for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education - 2016 & 2017.
The Collection aims to compile child and service provider statistics from all service providers delivering an in-scope preschool program within Australia.
The following statistical entities are in-scope for the Collection population:
A service provider is considered to be in-scope if it was providing a structured, play based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed at children in the year or two before full-time schooling (a preschool program) during the reference period.
All children between 3 and 6 years of age (inclusive) at 1 July were in scope of the Collection if they were enrolled in a preschool program during the reference period. To be considered as enrolled, the child must have attended the preschool program for at least one hour during the reference period, or be absent due to illness or extended holiday leave and expected to return.
The Collection has been conducted annually since 2010. The census date for the Collection is the first Friday in August each year. Some jurisdictions may adopt a 2 week reference period that needs to include the census week.
A summary of jurisdictional collection reference periods can be found in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of release).
Data for the Collection have been compiled according to the National standards outlined in the Early Childhood Education and Care National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS) in order to maximise consistency of data across the various jurisdictions. Alignment with these standards has not been completely achieved by all jurisdictions, and care should be taken when comparisons across jurisdictions are made. In addition, some jurisdictions were not able to provide the ABS with certain data elements as specified in the ECEC NMDS.
Data quality overall is determined by the jurisdictional data submissions. Data issues are explained in the Explanatory Notes section of this publication, as well as in Appendix 3 – Jurisdictional Data Quality Statements (available in the second stage of release).
Further information on the ECEC NMDS is available on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) website.
Due to the differing levels of coverage, collection methodologies and alignment with the ECEC NMDS across jurisdictions, the data presented in this iteration of Preschool Education, Australia (cat. no. 4240.0) may not be directly comparable across all jurisdictions.
For 2017 the data is highly comparable with the 2016 collection cycle. The statistics for previous years are not as comparable with previous Collection cycles due to differences in coverage and methodologies.
Differences in the scope and counting rules for the Collection mean that the data presented in the publication are not strictly comparable to data published in other national or state/territory publications.
National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 4240.0.55.001) contains detailed information on the data sources, terminology and other technical aspects associated with the National ECEC statistics.
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