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SSC Newspaper : August 2013
By Bernadette Chua A Strathfield pre-school may have to close its doors after the announcement of a new funding model for early childhood education that excludes three-year-olds. The model, to be implemented next year, will redirect subsidies to four- and five-year-olds. A resulting fee increase will mean parents may be forced to pull their three-year-olds out of community pre-schools. About half the state’s pre-school centres will be affected by a fee rise of more than $15 a day. That would mean the current prices of $52 a day would go up to at least $67 – bringing them into line with some all-day childcare fees. The Integricare Pre-school Strathfield branch has 34 three-year-olds in its care. These children make up about 35 per cent of its education program, said Chris Wilson, the CEO of Integricare. The pre-school has been in Homebush for almost 20 years and Mr Wilson fears he will lose students when the model is put in place. “The new funding model will have severe implications for community childcare centres. Many parents won’t be able to afford it any longer,” he said. “ With the increase in fees, parents might as well pay for their children to attend long day-care. In my opinion there isn’t much difference in intelligence levels between children aged three and four. It will be a severe disadvantage for three-year-olds.” Mr Wilson’s other issue is that the state government is not giving the centres enough time to create a funding transition period for parents. “The state government has literally sprung this on us. It gives us no time to slowly introduce an increase in fees,” he said. “But obviously the biggest issue is that we might have to close. If there are no subsidies for three-year-olds then fees will go up for all students.” Leanne Gibbs, the chief executive of the Community Child Care Co-operative, told The Sydney Morning Herald that three-year-olds made up between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of community pre-school enrolments. “If those places are not funded it will make it less attractive for people to use pre-school for two years before school,” she said. “People will look for alternatives.” A spokesperson for Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the reform would reduce fees for four and five-year-olds by 26 per cent. Pre-schools that end up with less funding will be eligible for support during the transition. www.ourstrathfield.com.au Strathfield Scene 15 EDUCATION “The new model will have severe implications for community childcare centres. Many parents won’t be able to afford it any longer.” – Chris Wilson, CEO of Integricare With the increase parents might as well pay for their children to attend long day-care . Funding changes could shut pre-school down 13/034 The McDonald College • 17 George Street, Nor th Strathfield NSW F I NALAudi t ions22 - 23Au g Is your child a born actor... dancer... singer? The McDonald College offers the rare opportunity for young people to receive a fine academic education while engaging with a unique and inspiring performing arts program. Call 02 9752 0507 to book a tour or meeting www.mcdonald.nsw.edu.au
SS July 2013