Union seeks clarity: NSW government’s six months of preschool funding
The IEU, representing teachers in early childhood education throughout NSW and the ACT, has been calling and lobbying intensively for specific funding and security for teachers in preschools and early childhood centres in the past few months.
“The union welcomes this announcement, which has the potential to maintain services and early childhood teachers’ jobs,” said Mark Northam, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary. “It appears to address our calls for government funding assistance at this time of COVID-19 crisis, but the union needs more detail as funding issues in preschools are extremely complex.”
Gabrielle Connell, IEU Vice President of Early Childhood Services, stated: “If this funding package is equitable, it is a good injection at this time when services are on the brink of closure and staff are unsure of ongoing employment. Preschools are funded according to their Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Band so preschools in the lower bands get a lot more money so rely less on fees. Some preschool funding only covered 40% to 50% of their costs, so they will need a much bigger injection of fees from the government. Each preschool will need to be looked at individually – it’s not a blanket funding matter. The devil is in the detail with this announcement and we need to see the detail.
“The NSW government will need to be able to top up to 100% costs for all preschools. In some cases this could be a lot more money. If the government does this it will be a great relief not just for struggling families, but also for teachers,” Connell said.
The union supports calls from the NSW Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Jodie Harrison, for clear government guidelines to early childhood education services as they try to navigate the complex health environment in times of COVID-19.
Northam said that it was important that the NSW government provide