$60 million has been earmarked to be spent by South Australia to improve preschool child-to-teacher ratios.
The implementation of this spending will ensure that In most kindergartens there will be a ratio of 11 children to each educator – a benchmark agreed to by education ministers across the country. To achieve this increase in child-to-teacher ratios, 100 more preschool teachers have been hired across the state.
Disadvantaged preschools and kindergartens will have 10 children to a teacher. The previous ratio averaged 13 children to one teacher.
Education Minister Dr Susan Close said the Government was spending $60 million over four years to employ the extra teachers.
“Kids will have more access to qualified workers, and they’ll get a great start leading into the school year,” Dr Close said. “We ask more and more of our kids in education, we expect them to learn and know a lot more throughout their school time, and that means we really need to prepare them.”
“We’ve known this was coming for a couple of years and we’ve been preparing to employ those workers, and the industry has been ready to make sure we’ve got the right qualified workers,” she said.
The standard ratios in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia is 1 teacher for every student in preschools. South Australia, however is the only state in Australia to ensure preschools in disadvantaged areas would have smaller child-teacher ratios implemented.
“When family circumstances are difficult, that can lead to kids not being as ready for school as some other kids,” Dr Close said. “Their vocabulary is sometimes smaller, they’re less familiar with books and they’re less comfortable with mathematics. So what we need to do is making sure they have access to qualified preschool workers, to improve their access to that kind of knowledge so they can start school right.”
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