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Preschools short-changed when it comes to funding

NEED A BIGGER SLICE OF THE CAKE: Bentley Community Preschool director Belinda Smith, supported by local candidates Trent Gilbert (Labor) and Janet Cavanaugh (Greens), is calling on the NSW Government to invest more money in preschools.
NEED A BIGGER SLICE OF THE CAKE: Bentley Community Preschool director Belinda Smith, supported by local candidates Trent Gilbert (Labor) and Janet Cavanaugh (Greens), is calling on the NSW Government to invest more money in preschools. Marc Stapelberg

TEACHERS and parents of preschoolers are outraged about a funding shortfall they claimed is hurting our kids.

Director of Bentley Community Preschool Belinda Smith said New South Wales had the lowest preschool spending per child in Australia, something the NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli confirmed.

"Two years of preschool education has social, emotional and academic benefits for children," Mrs Smith said. "But NSW has the lowest rates of enrolment, probably because they pay the highest fees."

She said the situation was worse in regional areas such as the Northern Rivers, which has 30 preschools.

Last year the preschool's teachers and parents had to raise $10,000 to keep the centre operating.

"We had trivia nights, barefoot bowls, disco nights and cake stalls," Mrs Smith said.

She urged parents to support the region's preschools by speaking to their local government representatives about the funding issue writing letters of concern.

Mr Piccoli invited interested parties to lobby him to assist his fight to get additional funds still required for preschools from the Treasury.

"The very lobbying you do, lobbying me, lobbying all elected representatives, is an effective way to get the message out," he said.

For more information visit http://earlyeducation.org.au

ABOUT EARLY EDUCATION

Since 2011, the proportion of the NSW education budget that is spent on early education dropped from 3% to less than 2%.

Research shows that two years of early education is the best for children.

NSW families pay the highest fees for preschool education after subsidies in Australia.

NSW has the lowest rate of enrolment in a preschool program in the year before school in Australia.

Topics:  funding



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