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Incentives boost to get more support in preschools for children with disabilities

kid playing at home

Early childhood teachers (ECTs) in NSW working with children with disabilities or additional needs are encouraged to apply for up to $20,000 of financial support to enhance their skills before applications close next week. 

Applications for the Early Childhood Inclusive Education Scholarships program opened last month for the first time to help ECTs develop specialised skills and knowledge to support children with additional needs, thanks to the $281.6 million Workforce Package to attract and retain early childhood education and care staff over the next 4 years.

Successful scholars would receive a cash boost of up to $20,000 to begin or complete a Master of Special and Inclusive Education, specialising in Early Childhood. $10,000 is available for those commencing or finishing their Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Disability and Support.

More than 7% of 3–5-year-old children attending preschool in NSW are children with disability.

Deputy Secretary of Education and Skills Reform, Gillian White said the NSW Government is committed to making sure every child can participate in early childhood education and care.

“We know that most children with disability will benefit from participating in early learning, with positive impacts on their communication, relationships, play and behaviours,” Mrs White said.

“More than 85% of community preschool educators work with a child with disability and these scholarships will ensure we have a workforce with the qualifications, knowledge and understanding to teach and support children in inclusive settings.”

“Providing the right support early in life can also potentially reduce the impacts of disability or developmental vulnerability, build skills and independence, as well as reduce the extent of supports needed later in life.”

Deputy Secretary Gillian White said this scholarship program is just one of a number of important strategies the NSW Government has to address workforce supply issues.

“The NSW Government values our early learning professionals and understands the need to attract more people who are qualified in providing inclusive education in early childhood education services across the state,” she said.

“Our vision is to have a highly qualified and sustainable workforce, including more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood teachers as a priority, across the state so that we can improve outcomes for all children and their families as part of our Early Years Commitment.”

$15.9 billion has been committed to deliver a brighter future for every child in NSW through a revolutionary transformation of early childhood education, child development and women’s economic participation over the next decade.

Applications for the Early Childhood Inclusive Scholarships program are now open and close on 10 October 2022.

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