The Victorian Government will be making grants available to service providers and launching a range of early childhood workforce initiatives to help prepare the early childhood sector for the roll-out of kindergarten programs for three-year-olds.
On 4 April, the Minister for Education, James Merlino, announced support to expand the early childhood workforce.
Mr Merlino said that the Government recognised that teachers and educators sit at the heart of the Three-year-old Kindergarten reform, which is why it will be investing substantially in the early childhood workforce. This will start with a $7.24 million fund that includes scholarships and incentives to attract new early childhood teachers, including people already enrolled in their studies. Existing educators will also have opportunities to upskill.
The workforce funding will also support new early childhood teachers, and will establish a pool of mentors to work with provisionally registered teachers and support them to become fully registered.
As part of this package, individual incentive payments of up to $9,000 will be available for early childhood teachers choosing to teach in the 2020 and 2021 roll-out areas. A full list of these areas can be found here.
Capacity assessment process
This year, every kindergarten and long day care facility in Victoria will be surveyed about their existing capacity, both in terms of their facilities and workforce. This survey will start with services in the 2020 and 2021 roll-out areas, as well as those in areas experiencing high growth.
Ernst & Young has been appointed to partner with the Department of Education and Training to carry out this survey. From May, local councils, Early Years Managers and services will be contacted regarding the next steps, including a request to visit their facilities at a convenient time.
This process will provide an accurate picture of local infrastructure and workforce capacity, and make it clear which areas will need the most support to introduce or expand kindergarten programs for three-year-olds. Having strong engagement from services will make sure that the support is targeted in the most effective way possible.
As part of a $3.75 million local planning and change management support package for the sector, funding support will be provided to assist organisations to take part in the capacity assessment process and prepare to deliver or expand kindergarten programs for three-year-olds.
Local government will be funded to facilitate the capacity assessment of kindergarten services in council-owned early childhood facilities and to work with the Department to build the picture of local infrastructure, workforce capacity and supply and demand for kindergarten places.
Early Years Managers across the state will be eligible to receive funding to coordinate the capacity assessment process for the services they manage and provide input into considerations about local infrastructure and workforce capacity.
Funding will also be available to community-based services in the 2020 and 2021 roll-out areas. Services in these areas will have a shorter lead in time to plan for the delivery of subsidised kindergarten programs for three-year-olds compared to the rest of the state and this funding will give them additional support to get ready.
Support for services
The Department will be working closely with services, providers, local government and peak bodies to make sure we get the roll-out right. As a first step, the Department will be contacting those in the initial roll-out areas to support them to plan and prepare for providing subsidised kindergarten programs for three-year-olds.
For more about the Three-year-old Kindergarten reform, see: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/three-year-old-kinder.aspx
For a list of our regional office locations and contact information, see: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/Pages/regions.aspx
If you have questions you can email 3YO.firstname.lastname@example.org