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Pre-school fees across the region to be slashed by up to 30 per cent

THE cost for parents of sending children to the 23 pre-schools across the Northern Tablelands will be slashed by up to 30 per cent, after the NSW Government today announced an additional $115 million in funding to make early childhood education more affordable.

“This is just fantastic news for families with young children,” said local State MP Adam Marshall.

“The government wants to ensure universal access to good early childhood education, so it is lowering the barriers to entry by reducing pre-school fees for four- and five-year-olds and removing nearly all fees for children from Aboriginal and low-income families.

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Image: thefuturesteps.org

“This funding boost will deliver the largest single fee reduction in NSW history, making pre-school more affordable so that more children will be able to participate in 600 hours – or about 15 hours per week – of early childhood education in community preschools and long day care centres in the year before they start school.

“I know the wonderful pre-schools across the Northern Tablelands make a big difference to the lives of our children and that positive impact can carry on through later schooling and into adulthood.”

Starting in next year, community pre-schools across the State which enrol children for at least 600 hours in the year before school will receive increased subsidies from the NSW Government, enabling them to reduce fees for families.

The package also recognises the special challenges faced by regional and remote pre-schools.

“That is why we are providing a safety net for community pre-schools in regional, rural and remote areas,” Mr Marshall said.

“We are guaranteeing funding for pre-schools that are licensed for 20 places or less to ensure non­-metropolitan preschools in small rural communities can keep their doors open despite varying enrolments from year to year.

“These pre-schools qualify for up to $132,000 each which will give them security of funding.”

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries has also welcomed the fee reduction.

Mr Humphries said the NSW Government is committed to providing universal access to quality early childhood education.

“I know the pre-schools here in Barwon make a big difference to the lives of our children,” Mr Humphries said.

Starting in 2017, community pre-schools across the State who enrol children for at least 600 hours in the year before school will receive increased subsidies from the NSW Government, enabling them to reduce fees for families.

Mr Humphries said it’s important that families in small communities aren’t disadvantaged when it comes to pre-school services.

“This funding will provide a safety net for community preschools in regional, rural and remote areas, guaranteeing funding for pre-schools that are licensed for 20 places or less to ensure they can keep their doors open despite varying enrolments from year to year,” he said.

“Research shows that a quality pre-school education for at least 600 hours gives children a head start in their learning journey.

“We want all children in NSW to enjoy the benefits of a quality early education, wherever they live and whatever their background.”

Media Release: September 14, 2016