School Readiness Funding

​​Extra support for kindergartens to help children to get the most out of their early learning.

Kindergartens to receive School Readiness Funding

School Readiness Funding will support children in 32 local government areas in 2020, and will be rolled out to all funded kindergarten services by 2021. It will be available in all kindergarten settings, including long day care, and for both three and four-year-old children in funded kindergarten programs in line with the roll-out of two years of funded kindergarten.

School Readiness Funding available in 2019

In 2019, School Readiness Funding will be available for children starting in services at kindergarten programs in the following local government areas:

  • Bass Coast Shire
  • Baw Baw Shire
  • Brimbank City
  • Buloke Shire
  • Cardinia Shire
  • Casey City
  • Corangamite Shire
  • East Gippsland Shire
  • Gannawarra Shire
  • Glenelg Shire
  • Greater Dandenong City
  • Hindmarsh Shire
  • Horsham Rural City
  • Latrobe City
  • Melton City
  • Mildura Rural City
  • Moyne Shire
  • Northern Grampians Shire
  • South Gippsland Shire
  • Southern Grampians Shire
  • Swan Hill Rural City
  • Wellington Shire
  • Warrnambool City
  • West Wimmera Shire
  • Yarriambiack Shire

All kindergarten services run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) also receive funding in 2019.

School Readiness Funding available in 2020

In 2020, kindergarten services in the following local government areas will receive School Readiness Funding:

  • Hume City
  • Greater Shepparton City
  • Mitchell Shire
  • Moira Shire
  • Moreland City
  • Murrindindi Shire
  • Strathbogie Shire
School Readiness Funding available in 2021

In 2021, kindergarten services in the following local government areas will receive School Readiness Funding:

  • Alpine Shire
  • Ararat City
  • Ballarat City
  • Banyule City
  • Bayside City
  • Benalla Rural City
  • Boroondara City
  • Borough of Queenscliffe
  • Campaspe Shire
  • Central Goldfields Shire
  • Colac Otway Shire
  • Darebin City
  • Frankston City
  • Glen Eira City
  • Golden Plains Shire
  • Greater Bendigo City
  • Greater Geelong City
  • Hepburn Shire
  • Hobsons Bay City
  • Indigo Shire
  • Kingston City
  • Knox City
  • Loddon Shire
  • Macedon Ranges Shire
  • Manningham City
  • Mansfield Shire
  • Maribyrnong City
  • Maroondah City
  • Melbourne City
  • Monash City
  • Moonee Valley City
  • Moorabool Shire
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire
  • Mount Alexander Shire
  • Nillumbik Shire
  • Port Phillip City
  • Pyrenees Shire
  • Stonnington City
  • Surf Coast Shire
  • Towong Shire
  • Wangaratta Rural City
  • Whitehorse City
  • Whittlesea City
  • Wodonga City
  • Wyndham City
  • Yarra City
  • Yarra Ranges Shire

Funding for my kindergarten

The amount of School Readiness Funding each service receives is based on the level of need of the cohort of children at the service. This is informed by parental occupation and education data (Student Family Occupation and Education data) as this is considered to be an accurate predictor of educational disadvantage. Similarly, parental occupation and education data is used in schools to allocate ‘needs-based’ funding.

Funding for each service will range between:

  • $1,000 for kindergartens with low levels of need and/or have small numbers of children, to
  • above $200,000 for kindergartens with large numbers of children and very high levels of need.

It is important that kindergarten services accurately collect parents’ occupation and education information each year as part of the enrolment process. Service providers are required to enter this into the Kindergarten Information Management system as part of annual confirmation each year.

This information is necessary for the Department to understand the educational needs of children and services across Victoria, and determine how funding will be allocated in future years.

For further support with data collection, see Kindergarten Information Management (KIM) system.

How kindergartens can spend their funding

Approved providers will submit an annual School Readiness Funding Plan for each of their managed services. Annual plans will draw on local and service-level data to determine the needs of each service. A mid-year review and end-of-year acquittal will be submitted for each service annually that confirms how School Readiness Funding has been spent.

The menu of evidence-informed programs and supports

Services will spend most of their School Readiness Funding on items from the menu of evidence-informed programs and supports. Items on the menu align with the three priority areas for School Readiness Funding:

  • communication (language development)
  • wellbeing (social and emotional) and
  • access and inclusion.

The menu includes information on a range of programs and supports that have been externally validated for how well they support children’s learning and development. The menu has been developed to help kindergartens to make informed choices on how to spend their funding to improve outcomes for children. It includes:

  • programs and services that target speech, language and literacy
  • allied health supports (speech pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists)
  • programs and services that inform educators and families about trauma-informed practice, secure attachment and mental health
  • resources and programs to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of children
  • support for culturally and linguistically diverse children, and families
  • tools for parents to support their child’s development.

Kindergarten services will work directly with menu providers to organise access to programs and supports.

A majority of funding (a minimum of 75 per cent for services receiving over $5,000, and all funding for services receiving under $5,000) must be spent on items from the menu. The menu can be accessed via the Department’s website.

Flexible funding

Services that receive over $5,000 in School Readiness Funding may spend up to 25 per cent of their funding flexibly on programs and supports not listed on the menu. Items purchased using flexible funding must align with the three priority areas or a local priority, address educational disadvantage as well as the needs of the group of children in the service in line with the intent of the funding. Flexible funding should not be expended on items such as infrastructure or information technology.

Services that wish to spend some of their funding flexibly should discuss this with their local Early Childhood Improvement Branch.

Services that receive under $5,000 in School Readiness Funding must spend all their funding on items from the menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.

Allied health

Allied health services have been engaged by the Department to ensure that kindergarten services receiving School Readiness Funding have access to high quality allied health services, including but not limited to speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Allied health professionals work in collaboration with educators and families to build on existing skills and improve outcomes for children.

Services that receive over $5,000 in School Readiness Funding will have a portion of their funding notionally allocated to allied health sessions provided at the service. For eligible services, allied health professionals will collaborate with educators, families and children in the kindergarten service to address the service’s identified needs and goals. Allied health providers will make contact with eligible kindergartens in the first instance, and a list of allied health providers is available via the menu.

Services that receive under $5,000 in School Readiness Funding will have access to an allied health support phone line at no cost (see more information in the allied health support line section of this page). Kindergarten services are also able to use their School Readiness Funding to independently source allied health services to address priority areas of the funding (see menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.)

Maximising your funding through collaboration

Kindergarten services may choose to partner, or pool funding with other services under the same service provider (such as an Early Years Manager), or across multiple service providers to access programs and supports of a shared interest.

Pooling funding may help services to:

  • access programs or supports that are beyond the reach of a single provider’s allocation, yet are identified as a collective need by multiple services in a local area
  • support a larger community-focused initiative that needs sustained support to result in long-term practice change
  • strengthen links with local providers and education settings (including primary schools), enabling a more collaborative approach to identifying and meeting the needs of children and families in the local community.

If your service is interested in pooling funds, you should discuss this with your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch.

Planning for School Readiness Funding

The following documents will assist kindergarten services to start planning how to spend School Readiness Funding and use the menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.

School Readiness Funding: Annual planning guide
School Readiness Funding annual plan 2020 pdf 245kbpdf 1.06mb
School Readiness Funding annual plan 2020
Guidance to support planning for 2019 School Readiness Funding pdf 262kbxlsx 558.63kb

Extra support for kindergartens

New dedicated Early Childhood Improvement Branches have been established in the eight Areas that will recieve School Readiness Funding in 2020.

These staff will work with kindergarten services to plan for how best to use School Readiness Funding, and to support them throughout the roll-out phase.

For more information, contact the Early Childhood Improvement Branch of your regional office:

North Eastern Victoria Region

P: 1300 333 231

South Eastern Victoria Region
Inner Gippsland

P: 1300 338 738

Outer Gippsland

P: 1300 338 738

Southern Melbourne

P: 1300 338 738

North Western Victoria Region
Hume Moreland

P: 1300 338 691


P: 1300 338 691

South Western Victoria Region
Wimmera South West

P: 1300 333 232

Brimbank Melton

P: 1300 333 232

Allied health support line

An allied health support line is available for kindergarten services who are not able to access in-service allied health supports.

The allied health support line offers phone and email appointments to kindergarten services who do not receive a notional allocation of allied health sessions through School Readiness Funding (i.e. services receiving under $5,000).

The two allied health support line providers are IPC Health and Monash Health. Contact details are below. IPC Health can offer outreach assistance to funded kindergarten services in these local government areas:

  • Buloke Shire
  • Gannawarra Shire
  • Mildura Rural City
  • Swan Hill Rural City
  • Horsham Rural City
  • Hindmarsh Shire
  • Yarriambiack Shire
  • West Wimmera Shire
  • Northern Grampians Shire
  • Warrnambool City
  • Moyne Shire
  • Southern Grampians Shire
  • Glenelg Shire
  • Corrangamite Shire
  • City of Brimbank, and
  • City of Melton

Monash Health can offer outreach assistance to funded kindergarten services in these local government areas:

  • East Gippsland Shire
  • Wellington Shire
  • Bass Coast Shire
  • Baw Baw Shire
  • Latrobe City
  • South Gippsland Shire
  • Cardinia City
  • Casey City 
  • Greater Dandenong City

Contact details​

IPC​​ Health

Telephone: 9216 7818
Hours of operation: 9:00am – 5:00pm
IPC Health website

Monash He​alth

Mobile: 0438027563
Telephone: 5990 6202
Hours of operation: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monash Health website