One of the big-ticket election promises headed into the New South Wales Election came from Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian – “before and after school care will be made available to all parents with children at public primary schools by 2021 under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.”
With election day behind them, the reelected Coalition Government is moving ahead on those ambitions and urging parents to have their say via a survey on the Service NSW website.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance says “[We] know how important it is for families in our local communities to have access to flexible, affordable and convenient childcare services, which is why we are rapidly rolling out this initiative.”
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell says applications have also opened for grants to assist before and after school care services to set up or expand their services with the costs of new facilities and equipment.
“This Government’s $120 million investment in before and after school care includes $50 million for new equipment and facilities; $40 million for rental subsidies to reduce costs to parents and $20 million to help schools where a standalone service may not be viable, including smaller schools and rural and remote communities,” Ms Mitchell says.
“We will work closely with our schools, P&Cs, principals and parents – as well as the before and after school care sector – to develop flexible and creative solutions that offer parents support and choice, as well as ensuring schools have the equipment and resourcing they need to deliver these wonderful services.”
Member for Monaro, John Barilaro is encouraging local parents to get involved in the parents and carers survey, “the Service NSW website will help us understand your needs, give us rich insights into where there are gaps in service delivery and help us to ensure the extra places and new services go to where they will make the most difference first.”
Before and after school care services operate in about 720 public schools in NSW. On top of providing care and supervision around the school bell, services also offer on-site holiday care for students of the school and other eligible children in the local community.
The Government says its initiative aims to fill gaps in access to services across the state and to clear waiting lists in high demand areas.
Who should do the government’s survey?
Parents and carers of primary school age children who are interested in accessing before and after school care services or school holidays care, including those whose children are:
- Currently on waiting lists;
- Attending schools where there is currently no access to services, or whose needs for care are not being met by existing services;
- Starting at a government primary school in 2020 and who may not be able to find a suitable place.
Head to the Service NSW website to take part and ‘have your say’.
A new specialist team within the Department of Education is being created to coordinate services with the aim of not adding to the burden of busy principals.