Under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education, the Australian Government and state and territory governments committed to reforming early childhood education and care services through the delivery of universal access to early childhood education. The universal access commitment is that by 2013 every child will have access to a kindergarten program in the 12 months prior to full-time schooling. The kindergarten program will be delivered by a university qualified early childhood teacher, in accordance with a national early years learning framework, for 15 hours per week, 40 weeks a year. The goal is for the kindergarten program to be accessible in diverse settings, in a form that meets the needs of parents and where cost does not present a barrier to access.
National priorities under the agreement include increasing participation rates, particularly for Indigenous and disadvantaged children, increasing kindergarten program hours, ensuring cost is not a barrier to access, strengthening program quality and consistency and fostering service integration and coordination.
To achieve the objectives of the agreement, the Bilateral Agreement on Achieving Universal Access to Early Childhood Education was finalised in September 2009 between the Australian and Queensland governments.
Details about achievements under the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education are available in Giving children a flying start.