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Accreditation for early childhood teachers

(MEDIA RELEASE)

Early childhood teachers will be accredited alongside their peers in NSW schools, further recognising them as professionals who are making an important contribution to the education of our children.

Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli and Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams announced on Tuesday 12 January 2016 that from this year all NSW teachers will meet the same high standards.

“The NSW Government is recognising that early childhood teachers are professionals – they are university trained, passionate about children and dedicated to educational development,” Mr Piccoli said.

“Accrediting all teachers, from early childhood through to high school, is a key factor in our efforts to build on the expertise in the profession.

“NSW accredited teachers not only have the recognised qualifications, they also agree to ongoing training to improve their teaching and, as a result, outcomes for their students.”

The policy to accredit early childhood teachers has been developed in close consultation with the early childhood sector.

“I regularly meet early childhood teachers and see firsthand the vital role they play in the beginning stages of learning,” Mrs Williams said.

“Accreditation of early childhood teachers will ensure that teachers maintain high standards of teaching practice and as a result young receptive minds will benefit.”

To be eligible for accreditation an early childhood teacher will need to provide evidence of approved qualifications, two forms of identification and a current Working with Children Check clearance.

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards will distribute information kits to early childhood teachers and services with details on the accreditation process

NSW leads STEM

(MEDIA RELEASE)

New South Wales is playing a leading role in shaping a new national science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education strategy.

On 3 December 2015 Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli  released a summary of the STEM Education Summit that he hosted last month and said it would help inform a new national vision for STEM education in Australia.

“We brought together leaders from industry and education to talk through some of the key areas for reform and to kick-start conversations about Australia’s STEM education challenge,” Mr Piccoli said.

Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb and incoming Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel were among those who attended the Summit.

Mr Piccoli said young people increasingly need to have fundamental skills in mathematics, science and technology to thrive and fully participate in the rapidly-changing 21st century.

“STEM is on the radar internationally as the key to unlocking innovation potential – it’s seen as a critical pathway to securing Australia’s future,” Mr Piccoli said.

The Summit has informed the development of a new national STEM education strategy by identifying:

  • The importance of industry and universities in helping schools to lift STEM performance and engagement;
  • The role for government in brokering more effective partnerships with industry and universities;
  • The need to address the STEM image problem in Australia, particularly around mathematics and numeracy;
  • The importance of coding and computer science to improve problem solving skills; and
  • The critical importance of quality teaching to the STEM education reform agenda.

Education Ministers will be considering a draft national STEM school education strategy next week.

A summary of the key themes of the STEM summit is available here. 

New National Partnership Agreement for early childhood education

(MEDIA RELEASE) 12 November 2015

Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams has welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s offer of a new National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education for 2016 and 2017.

Mrs Williams said that this offer follows constructive negotiations between NSW and the Commonwealth on how the two governments could best support their shared commitment to the ongoing provision of affordable and accessible quality preschool education for all children in the year before school.

“This funding offer recognises the important role a quality early childhood education program plays in providing our young children with the critical cognitive and social foundations to support successful transitions to school,” Mrs Williams said.

“It also offers more funding certainty for NSW preschools, and complements recent NSW initiatives that will strengthen the NSW early childhood education sector and boost access to quality preschool programs.

“I look forward to continuing discussions with the Commonwealth in the coming weeks as we move to finalise the agreement.”

Extra $38 Million for Regional Preschools

(MEDIA RELEASE)

On Friday 20 November 2015, the Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams visited Singleton Preschool to announce further initiatives worth $38 million to increase regional preschool participation in the year before school.

Mrs Williams said the NSW Government is providing further funding to support community preschools in 2016:

  • $16 million over three years for local partnerships to enhance preschool participation by Aboriginal and low income families
  • $14 million over three years to enhance the Community Preschools Outreach Grants initiative
  • $8 million over four years for a new Capital Works Grants program.

“These initiatives complement the $45.5 million boost to preschool funding I announced two weeks ago, and will further support preschool participation in the year before school for 600 hours,” Mrs Williams said.

“A further $16 million is being targeted toward local partnership initiatives to support the delivery of early education for Aboriginal children and those from low income families to ensure that all children can benefit from an early childhood education.

“$8 million for capital works will deliver up to 500 new community preschools places for children in the year before school to be enrolled for 600 hours per year.

“An additional 223 preschools in regional communities will receive $7,000 grants by an enhanced and extended Community Preschools Outreach Grants program.”

$45.5 million Preschool Funding Boost

(MEDIA RELEASE)

Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams recently announced programs worth $45.5 million to increase the number of children attending preschool in the year before school.

Mrs Williams said the NSW Government is providing additional funding to support community preschools in 2016:

  • $13 million over four years to increase base funding rates by 2.5 per cent;
  • $11 million for bonus payments of up to 15 per cent of a service’s base rate, to reward centres that enrol more four and five-year-olds for 15 hours per week;
  • $4 million over two years to provide business advice and support to preschools;
  • $12 million over four years for a ‘Preschools for Sustainable Communities’ program, to help maintain viability for community preschools in rural and remote areas; and
  • $5.5 million over three years to improve the collection of data from services.

“The initiatives announced today will increase the number of four and five-year-old children enrolled in quality preschool programs in the year before full-time school. The focus is on increasing enrolments of children from low-income and Aboriginal families, ensuring that cost or location are not barriers to participation,” Mrs Williams said.

“These initiatives will support the NSW Government’s work to increase the proportion of Aboriginal students in the top two NAPLAN bands at school.”

Operational support for preschools will continue until June 2018 to assist services in enhancing their business skills. The Preschools for Sustainable Communities program provides additional funding to eligible services in non-metropolitan areas for four years from 2016.