Kindergarten funding reform

An outline of the Victorian Government's plans to reform funding for kindergarten services.

Early Childhood Reform Plan

The Victorian Government is giving an unprecedented $108.4 million funding boost for kindergarten services. This will better support children who need more help, provide additional early childhood facilities, build a higher quality system, and make services easier to access and more inclusive.

This investment is part of the Early Childhood Reform Plan, which focuses on building a system that is flexible to children’s needs, welcoming to children experiencing disadvantage, and ready to deliver quality services for all Victorian children and families.

Funding includes:

  • $55.3 million in new funding to ensure all children start school ready to learn - all children will benefit from this and those who need the most, will receive the most
  • $22.8 million to continue to improve the quality of all services delivering a kindergarten program
  • $10 million to plan and build new early childhood services on government school sites and $1.1 million to encourage more non-government schools to offer kindergarten programs
  • ensuring all children can access and benefit from kindergarten:
    • $5 million to help children with a disability fully participate in kindergarten
    • $5.5 million so that more local governments can provide a central point of contact for kindergarten in their area
    • $2.3 million to hold kindergarten places open for families most in need
    • $6.3 million to meet increasing demand for two free years of kindergarten for Koorie children and children known to child protection.

Helping children who need extra support

In an Australian-first, children in kindergarten services will benefit from an extra $55.3 million in ‘school readiness’ funding. This is a new, permanent part of the kindergarten funding model that will give more support to the children who need it most.

This funding will enable kindergarten services to target interventions to children who need the most help to learn and thrive. This could include improved training in literacy and language development, speech therapy, community outreach, parenting support or more time for one-on-one learning.

Any service with a funded kindergarten program, including long day care, is eligible to receive the funding. School readiness funding will begin to roll out in 2019 – starting first in the areas that need it most. All areas will receive the extra funding by 2021.

Delivering more early childhood facilities

We will provide $10 million to build early childhood facilities at government primary schools.

Having early childhood facilities on government school sites makes it easier for families to access early childhood facilities and provides children with a more stable transition from kinder to school.

This adds to the $60 million the Victorian Government has already committed to early years infrastructure between 2015 and 2018.

We are also allocating an additional $1.1 million to reform funding for non-government schools to encourage more to offer a kindergarten program, particularly in low socioeconomic areas.

Continuing to improve the quality of our kindergartens

Victoria’s kindergarten services are among the best in the country, but we need to make them even better to meet the needs of every child and every community. This is why we are significantly increasing the amount of support provided to kindergartens to continue to improve the quality of the education they provide.

We will provide $4.6 million in grants to help the services that need the most support to access intensive coaching, training and advice.

We will ensure that all services with a kindergarten program benefit with $18.2 million in additional support. This includes new Department of Education and Training staff with specialist expertise in early childhood, located across the state, and working directly with services to improve children’s outcomes.

We will also work with the sector to improve the quality of educator engagement with children, through approved professional development, coaching, and practice.

Ensuring all children can access and benefit from kindergarten

To help more children access kindergarten and get the best start in life, the Victorian Government is providing extra funding to programs that make sure children experiencing disadvantage and children with a disability get the support they need.

We will provide $6.3 million to meet increasing demand for the Early Start Kindergarten program, to continue to offer two years of free kindergarten to Koorie children and children known to child protection.

The Victorian Government will make the Pre-Purchased Places program a permanent part of the kindergarten system, by committing $2.3 million. This program reserves kindergarten spots for children known to child protection, refugees and Koorie children so that they can still attend even if they miss the enrolment dates.

The Victorian Government is committing an additional $5 million over two years to expand the Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program to help more children with disabilities attend and participate in kindergarten each year. The Victorian Government will invest $5.5 million to expand and enhance central enrolment schemes, so that more local governments can offer a single point of enrolment for kindergarten.

Partnership with local government

An essential element of a better early childhood system is strengthening how we work with local government. Supporting Children and Families in the Early Years: A Compact between the Department of Education and Training, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and Local Government (represented by the Municipal Association of Victoria - MAV) has been developed to formalise a closer working relationship to lift outcomes for young children and families.

It is a commitment to work together in new ways to improve joint planning, coordination and information sharing to better support children and families wherever they live.