Labor’s lack of support for Victorian kinders

A report tabled by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) today highlights continued failures by the Andrews Labor Government; this time in the support and management of sessional kindergartens to meet the Early Years Management (EYM) framework.  

The report reveals Labor has simply not had a fit-for-purpose framework to measure the quality of Early Years services since 2016. Without the right objectives being tracked, sessional kindergartens are unable to directly improve how they address challenges they face or develop better programs for future students.   

It is crucial that the Andrews Labor Government understand, manage and improve the quality of early learning services for Victorian children.

A draft of the framework draft was created in 201 but it was then put in the ‘too hard’ basket, or forgotten about, and in 2019 they started the process again. Completion is not expected until October 2021 – 5 ½ years after they began.

It is Victorian children who are the losers. How many have missed out on an approach that has real, meaningful outcomes?

In 2019 the Victorian Government provided $406.8 million to kindergarten services and another $10 million to EYM grants. Without collated reporting of framework outcomes or an insightful understanding of kindergarten challenges, the funding will not be adequately distributed to areas of need. 

Research shows children’s early life experiences in the first five years builds the foundation for their brain development into adolescence and adulthood. That’s why it’s so important that the government have the right objectives in place to measure outcomes right now – not in another year’s time.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Cindy McLeish:

“Educators and families will be outraged that it is taking 5½ years for the Andrews Labor Government to actually get the performance framework completed.

“Experts agree the first five years of a child’s life are critical to their brain development and learning patterns. The Andrews Labor Government needs to stop dithering and start supporting early years programs properly.

“It’s extraordinary that the Andrews Labor Government has not done the work to ensure our kids have the support they need for close to five years.”

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