Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Early Help Could Reduce Regional Kids' Disadvantage

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Early Help Could Reduce Regional Kids' Disadvantage

Article excerpt

Byline: Geoff Egan

A THREE-YEAR-OLD child from a disadvantaged background has heard 30million fewer words than a well-off child.

That can lead to trouble reading, poorer results and a higher chance of not finishing Year 12, according to a leading education researcher.

This paper revealed, as part of the Fair Go For Our Kids campaign, that regional Queensland's youth are less likely to finish Year 12 than those in Brisbane.

A coalition of early childhood educators has pointed to shocking statistics revealing more regional Queensland kids are already disadvantaged when they start Year 1 than in Brisbane.

The 2015 Australian Early Development Census reveals the percentage of developmentally vulnerable five-year-olds in regional Queensland is significantly higher than in Brisbane.

The areas of disadvantage the AEDC measures are physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills and general knowledge.

The statistics show in inner Brisbane 18.3 per cent of children faced at least one area of disadvantage when they started Year 1. The figures for regional areas were worse.

It was 31.4 per cent in Ipswich; 21.1 per cent on the Sunshine Coast, 26 per cent in Toowoomba, 20.2 per cent in the Wide Bay, 30 per cent on the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, 27.8 per cent in Central Queensland, 23.5 per cent in Mackay and 29.1 per cent in the Far North.

Early Learning and Care Council of Australia - Goodstart Early Learning, C&K Childcare and Kindergarten, G8 Education, Foundation Early Learning, Affinity Education Group and Guardian Early Learning Group - have written to the Labor Party, LNP, One Nation and the Greens, urging them to commit to spending more on early education. …

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