Preschools across the Illawarra will receive a 20 per cent increase in funding under a new funding model announced yesterday by the NSW government.
The model will make $150 million extra available to community preschools, meaning 95 per cent of centres would see an increase in their base funding rate.
More money would be made available for all four- and five-year-olds, but for only three-year-olds from a disadvantaged or Aboriginal background.
Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said the changes, which are based on last year’s Brennan Review of NSW Government Funding for Early Childhood, meant more money would go to support students who needed it and would reduce average daily fees.
The transition would take place over three years, with no preschool receiving less funding for two years as a result of these policy changes.
But the decision to withdraw funding for three-year-olds not from a disadvantaged background has drawn criticism from child-care services.
Margaret Gleeson, director at Keiraville Community Preschool, said she was concerned the number of three-year-olds attending preschool would drop if their spots were not supported.
‘‘It is important that the state government increases services and provides access for four- and five-year-olds so they’re receiving preschool education, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of three-year-olds,’’ Ms Gleeson said.
‘‘My concern is not funding three-year-olds other than those at risk means there will be a lot of children who won’t be able to access preschool because their families will find it too dear.’’
Opposition spokeswoman for education and training Carmel Tebbutt said while the government had extended the transition funding, she was still concerned about the impact the changes would have on three-year-olds not from a disadvantaged background.
‘‘Research demonstrates that preschool makes a positive difference to educational outcomes for children and the government should continue to support access to preschool for three-year-old children.”