Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce

Budget 2020 provides $278.2 million to restore the 100% funding band for teacher-led Early Childhood Education (ECE) services, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response and economic recovery.

The new 100% funding rates will apply from 1 January 2021.

The initiative creates a distinct funding difference between centres employing a fully certificated workforce and centres using 80-99% certificated staff. 

COVID-19 is likely to lower demand for early learning services. Reinstating 100% funding rates should maintain employment opportunities for qualified and certificated teachers in an environment when fewer services are likely to be operating.

Reinstating the 100% funding band is also one of the top action points in the Early Learning Action Plan(external link).

Research shows that high quality early learning can improve young children’s learning and developmental outcomes, particularly for children in low socio-economic groups and that qualified teachers can make a difference to the quality of teacher-child interactions.

In 2018, around 400 centres (13% of teacher-led centres) employed a fully qualified and certificated workforce.

To calculate the funding rates, the same funding difference for 80-99% and 100% funding rates from 2010/11 was added to 80%+ education and care centres’ funding rates from 1 January 2020, and kindergarten funding rates from 1 July 2020. This creates a distinct price differential for centres using 80-99% certificated teachers and centres with 100% qualified and certificated teachers. 

The new 100% rates increase the 80-99% funding band that will be in place in January 2021 by an average of 6.2% for kindergartens and 5.1% for education and care centres. Eligible centres will receive the increased payments in November 2020 advance funding to cover January and February 2021.

Announcement from the Minister of Education(external link)

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