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In September, 2016, the Department of Education NSW announced a new funding model – START STRONG. This new funding model will replace the previous PRESCHOOL FUNDING MODEL (PFM) completely by 30/6/2017. START STRONG funding will start to apply from 1 January 2017 and will be fully implemented on 1 July 2017.
Research shows that children who participate in quality early childhood education in the year before school are more likely to start school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning. An average of 600 hours per year or 15 hours per week is the minimum recommended level of participation.
This approach is consistent with the NSW Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education with the Commonwealth Government. Funding is targeted to four and five year old children in the year before school and children aged three and above from low income and Aboriginal families.
Start Strong aims to improve affordability of early childhood education and increase the number of children participating for 600 hours in a quality early childhood education program in the year before school.
Start Strong builds upon the needs based principles established under the former Preschool Funding Model (PFM) to promote universal access and priority of access:
The Department expects services that receive an increase in funding under Start Strong compared to 2016 PFM funding to reduce fees for children with priority given to reducing fees for children from low income and Aboriginal families.
Child Eligibility Criteria:
To be eligible for funding under Start Strong, a child will need to be either:
At GRIFFITH EAST PRESCHOOL INC we are already providing programs whereby children are participating in 15 hours per week. Therefore, we are eligible for the Early Adopters funding from 1 January 2017 as well as PFM funding for those children not attending 15 hours per week.
Our new funding has significantly increased and we have been working towards how to manage this funding to reduce fees for ALL families in attendance in 2017. We will still need to monitor our funding and fee levels over the next funding periods as enrolment patterns change from year to year and so therefore our total funding each year will vary. To maximise funding however, we must prioritise the 15 hour per week attendance for children eligible as mentioned above.
Please note from 1 July 2017, children not in the above categories do not receive any funding. Some may be in a category but not attend the 15 hours, they will be eligible for a much lower per child rate of funding.