Extra support for kindergartens to help children to get the most out of their early learning.
School Readiness Funding is a permanent and ongoing part of the Victorian kindergarten funding model. It funds programs and supports that builds the capacity of kindergarten services, educators and families to support children's learning and development outcomes.
Kindergartens to receive School Readiness Funding
School Readiness Funding will support children in all funded kindergarten services in Victoria from 2021. It will be available in all kindergarten settings, including long day care, and for both three and four-year-old children in funded kindergarten programs in line with the roll-out of two years of funded kindergarten.
School Readiness Funding available in 2019
In 2019, School Readiness Funding will be available for children starting in services at kindergarten programs in the following local government areas:
- Bass Coast Shire
- Baw Baw Shire
- Brimbank City
- Buloke Shire
- Cardinia Shire
- Casey City
- Corangamite Shire
- East Gippsland Shire
- Gannawarra Shire
- Glenelg Shire
- Greater Dandenong City
- Hindmarsh Shire
- Horsham Rural City
- Latrobe City
- Melton City
- Mildura Rural City
- Moyne Shire
- Northern Grampians Shire
- South Gippsland Shire
- Southern Grampians Shire
- Swan Hill Rural City
- Wellington Shire
- Warrnambool City
- West Wimmera Shire
- Yarriambiack Shire
All kindergarten services run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) also receive funding in 2019.
School Readiness Funding available in 2020
In 2020, kindergarten services in the following local government areas will receive School Readiness Funding:
- Hume City
- Greater Shepparton City
- Mitchell Shire
- Moira Shire
- Moreland City
- Murrindindi Shire
- Strathbogie Shire
School Readiness Funding available in 2021
In 2021, kindergarten services in the following local government areas will receive School Readiness Funding:
- Alpine Shire
- Ararat City
- Ballarat City
- Banyule City
- Bayside City
- Benalla Rural City
- Boroondara City
- Borough of Queenscliffe
- Campaspe Shire
- Central Goldfields Shire
- Colac Otway Shire
- Darebin City
- Frankston City
- Glen Eira City
- Golden Plains Shire
- Greater Bendigo City
- Greater Geelong City
- Hepburn Shire
- Hobsons Bay City
- Indigo Shire
- Kingston City
- Knox City
- Loddon Shire
- Macedon Ranges Shire
- Manningham City
- Mansfield Shire
- Maribyrnong City
- Maroondah City
- Melbourne City
- Monash City
- Moonee Valley City
- Moorabool Shire
- Mornington Peninsula Shire
- Mount Alexander Shire
- Nillumbik Shire
- Port Phillip City
- Pyrenees Shire
- Stonnington City
- Surf Coast Shire
- Towong Shire
- Wangaratta Rural City
- Whitehorse City
- Whittlesea City
- Wodonga City
- Wyndham City
- Yarra City
- Yarra Ranges Shire
Funding for my kindergarten
The amount of School Readiness Funding each service receives is based on the level of need of children enrolled at the service. This is informed by parental occupation and education data (Student Family Occupation and Education data or SFOE) as this is considered an accurate predictor of educational disadvantage. Similarly, parental occupation and education data is used in schools to allocate ‘needs-based’ funding.
Funding for each service ranges between:
- $1,000 for kindergartens with low levels of need and/or small enrolment numbers of children, to
- more than $200,000 for kindergartens with high levels of need and large enrolment numbers.
It is important that kindergarten services accurately collect parents’ occupation and education information each year as part of the enrolment process. Service providers are required to enter this into the Kindergarten Information Management system as part of annual confirmation in August.
This information is necessary for the Department to understand the educational needs of children and services across Victoria, and determine how funding will be allocated in future years.
For further support with data collection,
see Kindergarten Information Management (KIM) system.
How kindergartens can spend their funding
Approved providers will submit an annual School Readiness Funding Plan for each of their managed services. Annual plans will draw on local and service-level data to determine the needs of each service. A mid-year review and end-of-year acquittal will be submitted for each service annually that confirms how School Readiness Funding has been spent.
The Menu of evidence-informed programs and supports
Services will spend most of their School Readiness Funding on items from the
Menu of evidence-informed programs and supports (the Menu). Items on the Menu align with the three School Readiness Funding priority areas:
- communication (language development)
- wellbeing (social and emotional) and
- access and inclusion.
The Menu includes information on a range of programs and supports that have been externally validated for how well they support children’s learning and development. The Menu has been developed to help kindergartens to make informed choices on how to spend their funding to improve outcomes for children. It includes:
- programs and services that target speech, language and literacy
- allied health supports (speech pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists)
- programs and services that inform educators and families about trauma-informed practice, secure attachment and mental health
- resources and programs to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of children
- support for culturally and linguistically diverse children, and families
- tools for parents to support their child’s development.
Kindergarten services will work directly with menu providers to organise access to programs and supports.
A majority of funding (a minimum of 75 per cent for services receiving over $5,000, and all funding for services receiving under $5,000) must be spent on items from the Menu. The Menu can be accessed via the
Services that receive over $5,000 in School Readiness Funding may spend up to 25 per cent of their funding flexibly on programs and supports not listed on the Menu. Items purchased using flexible funding must:
- align with the three priority areas or a local priority,
- address educational disadvantage, and
- address the needs of the group of children in the service in line with the intent of the funding.
Flexible funding should not be spent on items such as infrastructure or information technology.
Services that wish to spend some of their funding flexibly should discuss this with their local Early Childhood Improvement Branch. Contact details are at the bottom of this webpage.
Services that receive under $5,000 in School Readiness Funding must spend all their funding on items from the Menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.
Allied health services have been engaged by the Department to ensure that kindergarten services receiving School Readiness Funding have access to high quality allied health services, including but not limited to speech pathologists and occupational therapists. Allied health professionals work in collaboration with educators and families to build on existing skills and improve outcomes for children.
Services that receive over $5,000 in School Readiness Funding will have a portion of their funding notionally allocated to allied health sessions provided at the service. For eligible services, allied health professionals will collaborate with educators, families and children in the kindergarten service to address the service’s identified needs and goals. Allied health providers will make contact with eligible kindergartens in the first instance, and a list of allied health providers is available via the Menu.
Services that receive under $5,000 in School Readiness Funding will have access to an allied health support phone line at no cost (see more information in the next section of this page). Kindergarten services are also able to use their School Readiness Funding to independently source allied health services to address priority areas of the funding (see
Menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.)
Allied health support line
An allied health support line is available for kindergarten services who are not able to access in-service allied health supports.
The allied health support line offers phone and email appointments to kindergarten services who do not receive a notional allocation of allied health sessions through School Readiness Funding (i.e. services receiving under $5,000).
The allied health support line provider is IPC Health. IPC Health can offer outreach assistance to all funded kindergarten services currently receiving School Readiness Funding.
Contact details for IPC Health
Maximising your funding through collaboration
Kindergarten services may choose to partner, or pool funding with other services under the same service provider (such as an Early Years Manager), or across multiple service providers to access programs and supports of a shared interest.
Pooling funding may help services to:
- access programs or supports that are beyond the reach of a single provider’s allocation, yet are identified as a collective need by multiple services in a local area
- support a larger community-focused initiative that needs sustained support to result in long-term practice change
- strengthen links with local providers and education settings (including primary schools), enabling a more collaborative approach to identifying and meeting the needs of children and families in the local community.
If your service is interested in pooling funds, you should discuss this with your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch, contact details are at the bottom of this page.
Planning for School Readiness Funding
The following documents will assist kindergarten services to start planning how to spend School Readiness Funding and use the Menu of evidence-informed programs and supports.
Kindergarten Management Information system (KIMS) will be used for the School Readiness Funding planning cycle from 2021 onwards. This includes drafting and submitting School Readiness Funding annual plans for 2021. User guides, training and support will be provided separately on the Department's
KIMS webpage to assist you to complete and submit your plan through the KIMS platform.
School Readiness Funding: Annual planning guide for 2021
School Readiness Funding: Annual plan worksheets 2021
Extra support for kindergartens
In 2020, new dedicated Early Childhood Improvement Branches have been established in the remaining nine Areas that will receive School Readiness Funding in 2021.
These staff, together with those in the existing eight Areas, will work with kindergarten services to plan how best to use School Readiness Funding, and to support them throughout the state-wide roll-out.
For more information, contact your local Early Childhood Improvement Branch of your regional office:
North Eastern Victoria Region
South Eastern Victoria Region
North Western Victoria Region
South Western Victoria Region
Quick reference guides
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