Early Childhood Education and Care: Unit Record Level NMDS 2022
Data Set Specification Attributes
Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:
|Data Set Specification
Early Childhood, Superseded 15/08/2023
|National Minimum Data Set (NMDS)
This data set has been developed to support the collection of data under the National Information Agreement on Early Childhood Education and Care (NIA ECEC). Responsibility for early childhood learning and care is shared between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments, and involves a wide range of service providers including government, local government, community, schools and the private sector.
The NIA ECEC provides a framework for cooperation between the Australian Government, state and territory jurisdictions and information agencies to develop the early childhood education and care (ECEC) information base required for the Preschool Reform Agreement (PRA) agenda in early childhood.
Data and information in scope of the NIA ECEC include:
Service provider organisations for the purposes of this collection are agencies directly providing services to children at a specific location. This includes organisations providing early childhood education program and other early childhood education and direct care services.
Organisations may provide multiple services, however for the purpose of reporting against the PRA, only early childhood education programs are included.
The scope of the data set is therefore all service providers delivering an early childhood education program to children enrolled aged 3 to 6 (inclusive) during the reference period, noting that coverage of 3 year olds varies across jurisdictions.
Within this scope, an early childhood education program is defined as a structured, play-based learning program, delivered by a degree qualified teacher, aimed primarily at children in the year or two before they commence full-time schooling. A preschool program can be delivered in a variety of settings such as stand-alone preschools, preschools co-located as part of a school (both government and non-government), and centre based day care (CBDC) services (formerly known as long day care). A child may attend both a preschool and a separate or adjoined child care facility, such as family day care, outside school hours care, vacation care, in-home care and occasional care services. Participation in preschool is not compulsory and is influenced by parental preference and other factors, such as school starting age in the particular jurisdiction.
The terms most commonly used to describe early childhood education programs which are subject to the PRA in states and territories are:
An early childhood education program may or may not be delivered in such a way that meets the Universal Access goal. The requirements for Universal Access are listed below.
The PRA is a commitment to joint Australian Government, State and Territory action to provide universal access to quality early childhood education programs.
Universal access means that every child, in the year before they commence full-time schooling, has access to, and participates in:
To apply the requirements of the PRA to the data set, a 'quality' early childhood education program is a program which is delivered in the year before full-time schooling by a qualified early childhood teacher, in accordance with the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Framework (NQF).
Monitoring information is to be maintained for the previous National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (UANP) where possible. However, specific data elements, data definitions and terminologies in the data set conform to those used in the PRA.
The unit record level collection supports information to be collected at the child, teacher and service provider organisation level.
The information is to be collected within a reference period, which includes the first Friday in August, to enable comparison with schools' data, which is also collected then. In exceptional circumstances a different reference period may be used if agreed to by the Australian Department of Education, the jurisdiction and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Collection and usage attributes
Service provider organisation
The collection date for the National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection (NECECC) is the first Friday in August of each year, with a reference period of one week in the same week as the collection date. Some jurisdictions prefer to incorporate a reference period of two weeks that includes the collection date, to better reflect their preschool program delivery model. In exceptional circumstances a different reference period may be used if agreed to by the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the jurisdiction and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
A summary of jurisdictional collection reference periods can be found within the ABS' explanatory notes.
The impacts to the ECEC sector from COVID-19, in particular to the services delivering a ‘quality’ education program have not changed the underlying concepts of the data collected in the NECECC for 2022. Jurisdictions were provided with clarifying statements to ensure that enrolment and attendance data in an early childhood education program included online or remote learning, in addition to the usual face-to-face delivery.
|Implementation start date:
The glossary items supporting this national minimum data set include:
Note. Individual data elements in this Data set specification may refer to the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (UANP) these references should be read as the Preschool Reform Agreement (PRA).
Source and reference attributes
Department of Education
|Early Childhood Policy Group (ECPG)
Council on Federal Financial Relations (CFFR) 2021. Preschool Reform Agreement. Canberra: CFFR, viewed 4 August 2022
Australian Government (2018). National information agreement on early childhood education and care. Canberra: Australian Government
|Related metadata references:
Supersedes Early Childhood Education and Care: Unit Record Level NMDS 2021
Early Childhood, Superseded 05/07/2022
Has been superseded by Early Childhood Education and Care: Unit Record Level NMDS 2023
Early Childhood, Standard 15/08/2023
|Implementation in Data Set Specifications:
Early Childhood Education and Care DSS 2022
Early Childhood, Superseded 15/08/2023
Implementation start date: 01/07/2022