New census data released today shows the majority of Victorian children are developmentally on track, but that more support is needed to ensure more kids are capturing the opportunities of the Education State.
The 2015 Australian Early Development Census measures a child's development in social competence, language and cognitive skills, physical health and wellbeing and communication skills and general knowledge.
It shows that while Victoria is leading the nation with the lowest proportion of developmentally vulnerable children (19.9 per cent), more needs to be done.
In making Victoria the Education State, the Andrews Labor Government is focussed on helping children and families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage get the most out of quality early childhood education, care and support.
This includes heightened ongoing investment in maternal and child health programs, supported playgroups, parenting support programs and free kindergarten for vulnerable children. It also includes:
- securing kinder places to ensure vulnerable or disadvantaged children don’t miss out, particularly if they enrol late
- up to $83.7 million to help kinders transition to improved staff-to-child ratios, to give children more individual attention and care
- improved support for early childhood teachers and educators, including training to identify and support vulnerable children
- new minimum child safe standards to ensure organisations working with children take steps to create a culture of child safety and protect children from all forms of abuse
The Labor Government is also supporting students at school, including targeting $747 million in Education State funding directed to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and support students and schools who need it most.
New programs such as the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund and the Breakfast Clubs program, which provides free breakfast to some 25,000 students this year, are helping every student gets the support they need to do their best.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino
“We know that disadvantage affects a student’s education. That’s why our first budget delivered a record investment of nearly $4 billion in education, including an extra $566 million in funding for schools to break the cycle of disadvantage.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“While we are leading the nation, the census shows that we need to keep working to strengthen early childhood services to lift the developmental outcomes of all our kids.”
“We know children experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage are underrepresented at kinder – that’s why we are working to improve kinder participation and support services to give every child a strong start in life.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020