This publication presents statistics on children enrolled in and attending a preschool program across Australia in 2016. The results are compiled from data collected through the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection. Children enrolled in and attending preschool programs are disaggregated by various classifications including state/territory, indigenous status, Remoteness Areas and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage.
In 2016, there were 344,676 children aged 4 or 5 years old enrolled in a preschool program in Australia. Of these, 16,598 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The age distribution of children enrolled in a preschool program varies across the states and territories because of differences in the age provisions for entry to preschool and school. In 2016, there were 280,646 children aged 4 years enrolled in a preschool program, representing 89% of the estimated resident population of the same age. There were 64,027 children enrolled aged 5 years, representing 21% of the estimated resident population of the same age. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the enrolment rates by age were lower at 84% for 4 year old children and 16% for 5 year old children.
There were 7,352 children aged 4 or 5 years enrolled in Remote/Very Remote areas of Australia. Almost 40% (2,921) of this group were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
In the Northern Territory, 43% of all preschool program enrolments were in Remote/Very Remote areas, while in each of the other states and territory Remote/Very Remote areas accounted for less than 10% of enrolments.
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas
The SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. Of the children enrolled in a preschool program in Australia, 21% resided in the fifth SEIFA quintile (least disadvantaged), and 18% resided in the first quintile (most disadvantaged).
SOURCE: Australian Bureau of Statistics. “Preschool Education, Australia, 2016. Quality Declaration.” ABS Cat. No. 4240.0, 16 February 2016.
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