Before and after school care for all children at public primary schools is on track for 2021, with consultation to begin with principals and school communities next month.
Parents will also be able to register their interest in a before or after school care service where they might not have one or theirs is full via Service NSW from July 1.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said implementing the key election commitment was a major focus for the NSW Government.
“We are getting on with the job of delivering this important initiative to ensure working families have greater access to more affordable, convenient and flexible child care services,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“No matter where you live or what your circumstances are, parents should have access to quality and affordable out of school hours care for their children”.
Ms Mitchell said consultation on the $120 million investment would begin in Term 2.
“We will work closely with our schools, P&Cs, principals and parents – as well as the before and after school care sector – to develop flexible and creative solutions that offer parents support and choice, as well as ensuring schools have the equipment and resourcing they need to deliver these wonderful services,” Ms Mitchell said.
Schools in metropolitan and major regional centres will be required to open their playgrounds, halls or classrooms for before and after school care and school holiday care from 7am to 6pm.
At smaller or remote schools where an on-site service is not feasible, transport will be offered to get students to and from offsite providers or other schools.
“We need to use our wonderful school resources better. It is not acceptable that there are waiting lists for before and after school care, while our school grounds are under-utilised,” Ms Mitchell said.
A new specialist team in the Department of Education is being created to coordinate services and manage leases to relieve this burden from principals.
The NSW Government will also reduce the cost of before and after school care by up to $225 per child per year, through a capped rental subsidy of up to $15,000 for providers who run services on NSW Government school grounds.
The $120 million strategy, over four years, includes $50 million to help schools buy new equipment and expand their facilities; $40 million to provide rental subsidies to service providers at public primary schools if they can demonstrate savings have been passed on to families; and $20 million to help schools where a standalone service may not be viable, including smaller schools and rural and remote communities.
There is also funding for a team of specialists to help coordinate services and resources to make it easier to setup and maintain a service and to take the hassle out of managing contracts with providers for principals; as well as funding to help parents and carers search for and access places online via Service NSW.