Tens of thousands of kids across the state will have access to free preschool sooner, with a re-elected NSW Government to accelerate the rollout of its $5.8 billion one-year free pre-Kindergarten program.
The commitment will bring forward $1 billion to commence construction on the first of the new preschools in the second half of this year, with the first 500 on public school sites to be completed within four years.
By 2030, every single child in NSW will have access to a full year of free, play-based learning in the year before school.
A re-elected NSW Nationals Government will also legislate the right to one-year free pre-Kindergarten in the next term of government.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the accelerated delivery of universal pre-Kindergarten represented a huge investment in regional communities.
“The bush is leading the charge on this major education reform, with 34 of the universal pre-Kindergarten pilot sites and more than half of the first 500 universal pre-Kindergarten schools being in regional communities – helping kids from Kempsey to Coonamble take the first steps to a brighter future,” Mr Toole said.
“Universal pre-Kindergarten is an investment in families now and in setting the next generation up for the long-term.”
Nationals’ Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said she was pleased to be able to unveil the first 500 schools that will have purpose-built infrastructure for universal pre-Kindergarten.
“Universal pre-Kindergarten will require 100,000 places for our youngest learners, and we will deliver 50,000 in the next four years on public school sites alone,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Our experience and capacity to deliver quality school infrastructure means we’ve been able to identify and assess initial sites faster than anticipated.
“Cementing universal pre-Kindergarten as a new part of the education journey for children in NSW will be the first thing on the legislative agenda for a re-elected NSW Nationals Government.
“Under a Nationals Government families have certainty. Labor’s commitment of 150 ‘new or upgraded’ preschools creates less than 6,000 places – a drop in the ocean compared to the 100,000 our universal pre-Kindergarten plans will deliver. Chris Minns will leave young families with less.”
The NSW Government is investing more than $15.9 billion in early childhood to deliver a brighter future for every child in NSW.
This includes the introduction of universal pre-Kindergarten, the Brighter Beginnings initiatives, a workforce package for early childhood educators and the Affordable Preschool fee relief.