The Start Strong funding reforms were announced in 2016 and introduced from 1 January 2017, to support access to early childhood education for more children across the state.
Research shows that children who participate in a quality early childhood education program for at least 600 hours in the year before school are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning.
The benefits endure well beyond primary school. Higher levels of educational attainment, economic participation and family well being have all been linked to moderate levels of participation in early childhood education.
To ensure that affordability is not a barrier for families with young children, in 2016 the NSW Government allocated an initial $115 million in funding for Start Strong.
In the 2017-18 NSW budget, the investment in Start Strong was extended through to 2021, with an additional $217 million committed over four years to strengthen the State’s ability to ensure universal access to an early childhood education program for 600 hours in the year before school.
This funding adds to the $150 million that was already allocated under the previous Preschool Funding Model, and is designed to significantly reduce preschool fees, making 600 hours of early childhood education more affordable for all families.
Parents and carers should check with their preschool provider regarding their child’s fees as each preschool sets its own fee levels.
Research by the Mitchell Institute and others shows conclusively that two years of quality preschool education improves children’s learning outcomes at school and in life. Led by advocacy and research, the NSW Government announced that all three-year olds in community based preschools will receive subsidised funding to reduce fees for 3 year old children from 2019.