Minister for Early Childhood Education visits Parkes following funding announcement

Parkes Early Childhood Centre is among the regional preschools that will benefit from the largest single preschool fee reduction in NSW’s history.

The reduction includes a new funding safety net designed to help them keep their doors open even when enrolments fluctuate.

Under this funding increase from 2017 the per child amount for four and five-year-old children that attend the preschool service at Parkes Early Childhood Centre (PECC) will rise from $3493 to $5893 for children who enrol for 15 hours a week.

The new safety net is part of a $115 million funding boost unveiled last week designed to cut fees by an average 30 per cent per day where a four or five-year-old is enrolled to attend a minimum 15 hours per week.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams and Nationals candidate for Orange Scott Barrett were in Parkes on Friday to meet PECC staff and preschoolers following the announcment.

They also took a tour of the facility and had a space moment to read a book to one preschool class.

Mr Barrett said the safety net will provide small preschools in regional and remote NSW with funding equivalent to 20 children or $132,000 per preschool.

“We know that preschools in small communities work differently and changes in family numbers from year to year pose challenges for service providers,” Mr Barrett said.

“This will ensure small communities can access a high quality, sustainable preschool service and support families by reducing fees.”

Mr Barrett described PECC’s facilities as a fantastic set up and said their service was crucial to the Parkes community.

“The kids are great and the teachers are great,” he said.

Mrs Williams said research showed that at least 600 hours or 15 hours a week of quality early education in the year prior to primary school gives children a head start in their learning journey.

“We have listened to the sector and to parents and we are committed to making a quality childhood education affordable for all,” Mrs Williams said.

“The funding will not only make early childhood education more affordable but will also remove nearly all fees for children from Aboriginal and low-income families at preschools.”

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