Early Childhood Education and Care
Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services aim to meet the education, care and development needs of children, and meet the needs of families including enabling increased workforce participation.
In 2021, state and territory governments regulate around 16,500 children’s education and care services including around: 8,000 long day care services, 3,000 preschools/kindergartens, 500 family day care services, and 4,500 outside school hours care services. About 50% of all services are operated by private for profit organisations, with 21% not-for-profit (community managed), 14% not-for-profit (others) with remainder operated by governments or schools.
Around 1.5 million children in Australia attend these services, with individual children attending anywhere from a few irregular hours to more than 50 hours every week.
Total Australian, State and Territory real government recurrent and capital expenditure on ECEC services was $10.6 billion in 2019-20.
More than 196,000 people worked in the ECEC sector in 2021 across all roles, with the National Skills Commission’s five-year employment projections indicating growth in the sector will continue to increase over the five years to November 2025, with employment expected to increase by around 16,000 educators (an 11% increase) and 8,000 teachers (a 17% increase).
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