Chiltern will have a new provider of kindergarten and childcare services post 2020.
North East Regional Preschool Association (NERPSA) has been named the preferred provider following months of advocacy for the continuation of the services by the Chiltern community, Indigo Shire Council and the Victorian Department of Education.
Based out of Wangaratta, NERPSA runs 12 kindergartens across North East Victoria. NERPSA Manager Leigh Chadban said she was looking forward to working with the Chiltern community and to expanding NERPSA’s services to include childcare.
“We are going through the process of securing the appropriate approvals from the State and Federal Governments to provide kindergarten and childcare in Chiltern,” Ms Chadban said.
“We hope to have a commencement date to announce soon, and in the meantime we will be working with the current provider to plan for a smooth transition for families.”
Indigo Shire Mayor Jenny O’Connor said she was delighted with the outcome.
“Council has led the campaign for a new provider,” she said. “The provision of quality and consistent childcare is of huge importance to the community, and to the future of Chiltern as a growing hub for families.”
Cr O’Connor said Council put out an Expression of Interest for a new provider and partnered with the State Department of Education and Training to reach out to potential services. Council also secured Federal Government support to investigate the financial model for the service provision in Chiltern.
A panel assessed three Expressions of Interest from potential providers and determined NERPSA was the organisation best equipped to work with the Chiltern community into the future.
“Council would also like to acknowledge the support of Albury Wodonga Community College in continuing to deliver services since its decision to withdraw back in November last year, and thank the College for its ongoing commitment to transitioning the services,” Cr O’Connor said.
Department of Education and Training Ovens Murray Executive Director Bernie Boulton said he was very pleased with the process to identify a preferred provider.
“NERPSA comes with strong experience working in partnership with rural communities to deliver quality education and services for children and families,” he said.
“With this announcement, Chiltern will continue to be a great hub for education with the ongoing childcare and kindergarten programs feeding into the town’s two primary schools.”