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.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the Government will invest $120 million to dramatically expand before and after school care, providing working families more access to affordable, convenient and flexible services.
“We know a major challenge for working families is accessing affordable and convenient before and after school care,” Ms Berejiklian said. “I want to ensure that care is available to everyone who needs it and at a location that is convenient.
“It isn’t good enough for there to be growing waiting lists for before and after hours school care while community resources remain under-utilised. This will ensure we provide the support that modern family life demands.”
Under the new policy, public primary schools in Sydney, Newcastle, Illawarra and the Central Coast as well as major regional centres, will be required to open their playgrounds, halls or classrooms for before and after school care and school holiday care from 7am to 6pm to make life easier for families. Before and after school care services are available to primary school aged children.
For smaller or remote schools where onsite services may not be an option, the NSW Government will provide transportation for students to and from offsite providers or to locations at other schools so that the communities in that region or area can be fully serviced.
The NSW Government will also reduce the cost of before and after school care by up to $225 per child per year, through a capped rental subsidy of up to $15,000 for providers who use school grounds to provide services.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said the policy will also make life easier for schools, with the creation of a new specialist team in the Department of Education to coordinate services and manage leases to relieve this burden from principals.
“This is about making life easier for parents and carers, teachers and principals, by ensuring our students are well cared for before, during and after the school day,” Mr Stokes said. “We want to free principals and teachers up so they can get back to focusing on teaching and learning.
“We’ll work with our schools, P&Cs and principals to make sure they have the equipment and resources they need to provide the high quality out-of-school care that families expect in every local community.”
Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell said the move will provide families with greater choice and flexibility when it comes to school drop-offs and pick-ups.
“We’re making daily life easier for parents and carers by giving them better options for before and after school care that is most convenient for their individual circumstances,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The Liberals & Nationals will work closely with the before and after school care sector to implement the roll-out of these initiatives.”
The $120 million strategy includes:
· $50 million over four years to help schools buy new equipment and expand their facilities;
· $40 million over four years to provide rental subsidies to service providers located at public primary schools if they can demonstrate savings have been passed on to families;
· $20 million over four years for an implementation fund focused on schools where a standalone service may not be viable, including smaller schools and rural and remote communities;
· $8.5 million over four years for a team of specialists to help coordinate services and resources on an area or regional basis, to make it easier to setup and maintain a service and to take the hassle out of managing contracts with providers for principals; and
· $2 million for a new website and mobile app to allow parents and carers to search for and book student places online.