Early childhood teachers
I rise to inform the house on how the Andrews Labor government is boosting the number of experienced and highly qualified early childhood teachers in our kindergartens. On 25 May I was pleased to speak at and open the Early Learning Association Australia and Gowrie Victoria Together We Grow early childhood education conference to announce a $9.7 million workforce package. I congratulate the conference organisers on another successful conference.
This investment includes $8 million for scholarships to attract new early childhood teachers to the field and for existing educators who wish to upskill to a teaching qualification. These scholarships will be offered to students seeking to start studies in 2019 and will continue to build a highly skilled early childhood teaching workforce to meet the growing enrolments in kindergarten programs in Victoria.
I was also pleased to announce a further $225 000 for a targeted scholarship program to attract Aboriginal Victorians into the early childhood profession, which will support the 10-year Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan. These scholarships will also focus on attracting new bilingual educators to the workforce.
I also announced a further $1.5 million investment to enable early childhood teachers to familiarise themselves with a new online system for writing transition statements. This new online format, which will now include a direct transfer of statements between kindergartens and schools, will help schools better support their newest students.
This year’s conference theme, ‘Our Children — Our Community’, directly reflects the Andrews Labor government’s vision for Victoria’s early childhood system, a world-class system that is child and family-focused, connected, flexible and accountable. With such a dedicated and passionate early childhood workforce we want to continue to reach for the highest standards of quality and best learning and development outcomes for every Victorian child. That is why as a government we are investing in our dedicated early childhood workforce.