Edward Melhuish suggests Australia should make preschool free
Sydney Morning Herald - Rachel Browne - March 9, 2014

Australia needs to introduce free preschool places for all children if it is to compete economically with other developed countries, according to a leading international expert in early childhood education. Research by Edward Melhuish from Oxford University has also found that a quality...

ABC collapse serves as learning experience for childcare newbies
The Age - Colin Kruger - March 8, 2014

"This is a business subsidised by government - how can it be unprofitable?" wailed ABC Learning's former chairwoman, Sallyanne Atkinson soon after the collapse. Ms Atkinson would be pleased to know that a new raft of for-profit childcare operators are trying to prove that there is money to...

My School should be scrapped, says Piccoli
Sydney Morning Herald - Alexandra Smith - March 7, 2014

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli wants the controversial My School website scrapped, arguing it is a waste of money that could be better spent on improving teacher quality. Mr Piccoli said the publishing of NAPLAN results on My School was directly responsible for putting students under...

Childcare operators being enticed away from outer growth area
The Age - Georgia Wilkins and Colin Kruger - March 7, 2014

The head of Australia's biggest childcare operator, not-for-profit group Goodstart Early Learning, says the lure of higher returns is driving private operators to set up shop in wealthy, inner-city suburbs, rather than burgeoning outer growth areas. Goodstart chief executive Julia Davison said...

Hockey warns on childcare
Financial Review - Phillip Coorey - March 7, 2014

The federal government has warned of a looming blowout in the cost of childcare subsidies but will spare the rebate from the budget axe, at least until the next federal election. Treasurer Joe Hockey revealed on Thursday that the cost of childcare subsidies, forecast to cost the budget $22 billion...

Sterling talks down competition for centres
Financial Review - Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Gretchen Friemann - March 7, 2014

If management from initial public offering-hopeful Sterling Early Education is reading this: it's Friday and you're in Sydney. After a fortnight on the road with stops in Sydney, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Melbourne, Sterling's travelling troupe and advisers Macquarie Capital are back in front of...

Funding in doubt for childcare training
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - March 6, 2014

THE future of at least one taxpayer-funded program to give childcare workers formal qualifications is in doubt, with no guarantee funding will be extended when it runs out at the end of the year. This is despite the fact that hundreds of childcare centres have failed to hire qualified teachers. More...

Not sure she's a feminist: Minister for Women
Financial Review - Joanna Mather - March 6, 2014

For women with children, the government's review of child care would ensure women with children have the same opportunities and advantages as women without children, she said. "I think flexibility is the key to participation by women in the workforce and flexibility ultimately benefits...

Six months with mum 'not enough for babies'
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - March 5, 2014

CHILDCARE for kids under one is of no benefit to the child and may even lead to behavioural issues, according to a British expert who has urged the Abbott government to overhaul its paid parental leave scheme. Edward Melhuish of the University of Oxford, who has been brought to...

Left should 'cheer' baby leave plan: Abbott
Financial Review - Joanna Mather and Nassim Khadem - March 4, 2014

A defiant Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stepped up advocacy for his paid parental leave scheme, using a speech ahead of International Women's Day to ask the left to support the policy, which is unpopular with business "Just imagine if a progressive had come up with this idea," he said at a...

Preschool checks prevent blindness
Sky News - March 4, 2014

Preschool eye checks are saving thousands of NSW children from going partially blind and should be extended nationally, researchers say. Around 65,000 four-year-olds a year are checked and around 1000 are found to have significant vision loss in at least one eye, their report in the...

Investors cautious on Sterling's strategy
The Australian - Amanda Saunders - March 4, 2014

Fund managers combing the prospectus for the $200 million IPO of childcare centre company Sterling Early Education have expressed caution about the size of the multiples paid for the centres, with one describing the strategy as risky. Sterling, which is aiming to raise $200 million with a...

$300m childcare wage fund diverted to staff training
The Australian - Patricia Karvelas - March 4, 2014

A $300 million fund originally for increasing childcare workers' wages will be given to centre providers to spend at their discretion and at their leisure on the professional development of staff. The money, which was to have been spent by the middle of next year, will have the deadline...

Swap parental leave for childcare tax breaks: directors
Financial Review - Nassim Khadem - March 4, 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott should divert funds from his $5.5 billion paid parental-leave scheme and make childcare tax deductible instead, leading company directors said. Directors have also criticised the government over plans to relax reporting requirements for gender equality in the...

Rules bent to save childcare centres
The Australian - Natasha Bita - March 3, 2014

HUNDREDS of childcare centres have failed to hire qualified teachers, forcing regulators to bend their rules to prevent centres closing this year. Nearly 700 centres - one in every 20 - have been exempted from national quality regulations, as primary schools poach qualified kindergarten...