Adopting, expanding and enhancing central enrolment for kindergarten
Central Enrolment (CE) refers to a centralised kindergarten registration and enrolment process for families that operates within a given municipality. It allows state funded kindergarten places to be allocated equitably to eligible children, in line with the Department's (DET) Priority of Access guidelines.
There is evidence to suggest that central enrolment has a positive impact on the engagement of vulnerable children in kindergarten programs. The Department's internal Early Start Kindergarten: Annual Participation Report 2016 examined the impact of central enrolment on the number of Early Start Kindergarten (ESK) enrolments. It found that between 2014 and 2016 there was an increase of 61 per cent in the number of ESK enrolments in Local Government Areas (LGAs) with CE schemes, compared to an increase of 31.6 per cent in non-CE areas.
Vision for central enrolment
The vision for Central Enrolment in Victoria, developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including the CEWG is:
- Central Enrolment is expanded to more LGAs and funded kindergarten programs in Victoria, with the ultimate goal of covering all LGAs and most funded kindergarten programs
- vulnerable families (including eligible ESK children) are identified early, proactively engaged and enrolled in high-quality, funded kindergarten programs, through direct linkages with Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services and through other innovative engagement strategies
- Central Enrolment schemes, including Priority of Access Guidelines, are implemented consistently and transparently across all participating LGAs, with the aid of a ‘model’ central enrolment scheme (including system requirements, processes, business rules, documentation etc.)
- accurate, consistent and timely kindergarten demand data (current and future) is collected across all participating LGAs and used by councils and DET in partnership, to monitor and proactively manage capacity and utilisation of services.
Below is a diagram outlining indicative project activities and timeframes. To gain an understanding of the current state of central enrolment across Victoria, DET will engage a consultant to collect and analyse data and consult with key stakeholders (including early childhood services, state and local government, universal, secondary and tertiary service providers and families). This work will inform the design of the central enrolment model and other supports to be rolled out to councils as part of the project.
- a Family Engagement Framework to better engage vulnerable families and establish direct links with MCH services and DHHS services.
- a central enrolment model, including policies, processes, procedures, systems / business rules, guidelines, data requirements, communication materials etc. that aims for consistency and can be readily adopted by councils looking to implement from scratch or to align existing processes.
- grants to councils to support the development and administration of central enrolment schemes.