Frankston City Council manages a centralised registration process for 24 community-based, sessional kindergartens located in the municipality. As part of lease and licence arrangements, all of these kindergartens are required to participate in the registration process.
The process was last reviewed in 2014, with only minor adjustments made to reflect legislative changes. Given that recent State Government policy reform announcements will see an increase in kindergarten participation, now is a good time to review the process, and seek community feedback.
The policy reforms are likely to lead to more eligible children applying for places at sessional kindergarten services in Frankston than there are places available. An equitable and robust procedure is needed to determine how best to allocate the available places.
Council's current kindergarten central registration procedure currently meets all legislative requirements set out by the State Government, with priority of access given to:
- Children at risk of abuse or neglect, including children in out-of-home care.
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children.
- Asylum seeker and refugee children.
- Children eligible for the kindergarten fee subsidy.
- Children with additional needs, defined as children who:
- Require additional assistance in order to fully participate in the kindergarten program.
- Require a combination of services which are individually planned.
- Have an identified specific disability or developmental delay.
The above key priority requirements will not change in this review. Instead, this review will focus on the local criteria used to prioritise children and determine the order of offers made, after the above priorities have been applied.
What we have already done!
In August 2022, we put out an expression of interest (EOI) to form a stakeholder group made up of:
- Committees of management.
- Early years manager (Community Kinders Plus).
- Family services.
- Relevant Council departments.
The group has met two times during September to:
- Develop the survey questions covering existing arrangements and possible areas for improvement.
- Identify ways of communicating to the community the need to apply the priority of access criteria.
- Consider the data obtained from the survey responses.
This review seeks your feedback on the local criteria used by Council to prioritise children for a place at a kindergarten where there are more registrations than there are places available.