We have released an Overview of our draft findings about factors that drive affordability, accessibility, consumer choice and supply of early childhood services in NSW.
We welcome feedback on our draft recommendations to address barriers to affordability and access in the sector, currently used by more than 300,000 families in NSW.
Our review found there is scope to improve affordability, accessibility and choice for families in NSW, in particular for children with disability, additional needs or experiencing disadvantage or vulnerability.
IPART has made draft recommendations to simplify the funding system, improve availability of qualified workers and better support families and children with diverse needs.
The funding system for early childhood education and care services is complex, fragmented and potentially inefficient, and this can lead to unintended negative outcomes.
Governments should work together to develop an integrated funding approach to early childhood education and care which prioritises affordability and accessibility for families with greater disadvantage including those with lower incomes and families in regional or remote locations.
The report includes draft recommendations to improve flexibility and inclusion through targeted supports for children and families experiencing disadvantage or vulnerability.
The review found workforce availability and expertise are critical to the supply and accessibility of quality early childhood education and care services, with workforce shortages a significant problem for the sector.
We have made a draft recommendation that the NSW Government develop an early childhood education and care workforce strategy to increase availability of suitably qualified workers and support educators to deliver high quality services.
We also suggest the NSW Government develop a digital service and data strategy to help families access early childhood education and care services. Better digital tools and data could help families find, choose and use services, and help service providers make better decisions about locating, expanding and supporting services.