In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

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24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Indicator 18 Children entering school with the basic skills for life and learning


Children Entering School with the Basic Skills for Life and Learning


Indicator  description

The proportion of ACT children who are developmentally on track, developmentally at risk and developmentally vulnerable as shown by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).

What do we measure?

The proportion of kindergarten children who are developmentally on track, developmentally at risk and developmentally vulnerable across the following five domains of early childhood development:

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills (school-based)
  • communication skills and general knowledge.

The AEDC was formerly known as the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI). The AEDC is conducted every three years. The 2018 census was the fourth collection as data was collected in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The 2018 AEDC results will be released in March 2019 and will be available at Australian Early Development Index (AEDI).

Why is this important?

Successful transition to school is greatly shaped by children's attainment of the basic skills for life and learning in the early years.28 Children's development in the years before school has an impact on both their ability to be ready to learn at school entry and their social and economic outcomes over the course of their lifetime. The quality of the relationships, environments and experiences in the early stages of development is crucial in shaping children's health, wellbeing and development outcomes.29

In 2009, Australia became the first country in the world to collect national data on the developmental health and wellbeing of all children as they start their first year of full-time school.30 The AEDC plays a vital role in strengthening our early childhood evidence base. Results from the AEDC help communities, governments and policy-makers pinpoint the types of services, resources and supports that young children and their families need to ensure children have the best possible start in life.

Policy Context

The Community Services Directorate has responsibility for coordinating the ACT's participation in the 2018 AEDC, working closely with the ACT Education Directorate and with ACT Catholic and independent schools. The data collection period was 1 May to 3 August 2018 with the national 2018 AEDC results expected to be available in March 2019. The national report will be published by the Australian Government identifying key results for each state and territory.

A report will also be developed by the Community Services Directorate by the end of 2019, detailing key findings for the ACT. This report will highlight emerging trends and include results disaggregated by demographics and geography. School level results will be provided to individual schools to inform service planning.

The Community Services Directorate will consider ways of communicating and translating results to key stakeholders and will work collaboratively across government and community, to support the translation and utilisation of the 2018 AEDC to improve outcomes for children and families. The AEDC continues to provide the ACT with robust data to inform policy and program decisions that improve outcomes for ACT children.

One hundred per cent of ACT schools (government, Catholic and independent) and 99.3 per cent of ACT kindergarten students (5,604 students) participated in the 2015 AEDC. A large proportion of ACT children were developmentally on track however, in 2015, 22.5 per cent of children in the ACT were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s). This is very similar to previous results for the ACT in 2009 (22.2%) and 2012 (22.0%) and comparable to the 2015 national result (22.0%).Consistent with previous years, a higher percentage of boys are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (29.4%), compared to girls (15.7%). The percentage of children from language backgrounds other than English developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) has stayed relatively stable since the last collection (28.3% in 2012 and 28.0% in 2015). While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain more likely to be developmentally vulnerable than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, there has been a slight decrease (not significant) from 2012 to 2015 in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) (from 45.4% to 41.9%).

How is the ACT Progressing?

Table 19: Characteristics of children participating in the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2015

Demographics

ACT

Australia

Total number of children included

5,604

302,003

Schools contributing to the results

107

7,510

Teachers contributing to the results

306

16,968

Mean age of children

5 yrs 7 mths

5 yrs 7mths

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

152

17,351

Children born in another country

531

22,549

Children with a language background other than English

1,235

64,881

Children with special needs status

246

14,065

Children needing further assessment (eg. medical and physical, behaviour management, emotional and cognitive development)

598

34,793

Source: Unpublished data and AEDC National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

Note The 2015 ACT demographic figures refer to children attending school in the ACT regardless of which state or territory they reside in.

National and regional comparisons of developmental vulnerability

In 2015, 22.5 per cent of children in the ACT were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s). This is very similar to previous results for the ACT in 2009 (22.2%) and 2012 (22.0%) and comparable to the 2015 national result (22.0%). In 2015, 10.3 per cent of ACT children were developmentally vulnerable on two or more domains, compared to 11.1 per cent nationally.

Figure 19: Proportion (%) of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more and two or more domains of the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2009, 2012 and 2015

Figure 19

Source: AEDC National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

The proportion of children developmentally vulnerable varies across ACT communities.In 2015, localities with the highest proportions of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) were Belconnen (25.1%) and Gungahlin (23.0%). Regions with the lowest proportion of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) were North Canberra (19.4%), South Canberra (19.8%) and Weston Creek (20.1%).

Over the past three collection cycles, there have been regional shifts in developmental vulnerability across the ACT. In 2009 the region with the highest percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) was Weston Creek (27.9%), while in 2012 it was Tuggeranong (24.6%) and in 2015 it was Belconnen (25.1%). Over the three Census cycles, Weston Creek has seen a significant decline in the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s). Woden has seen a trend of increasing vulnerability since 2009. The other regions have displayed fluctuations in the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) across the three Census cycles.31

Figure 20: Proportion (%) of children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) of the AEDC, ACT regions, 2015

Figure-20

Source: Australian Early Development Index (AEDI)

Developmental vulnerability by domain

Compared to the national average, the ACT has a lower percentage of children developmentally vulnerable in each of the five domains, except physical health and wellbeing.

From 2012 to 2015, there was a significant increase in the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable in the social competence (8.6% to 9.4%), emotional maturity (7.2% to 8.2%) and language and cognitive skills (school-based) domains (3.9% to 5.9%).

Between 2012 and 2015 there was a slight (not significant) increase in the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on the physical health and wellbeing domain (10.6% to 10.9%) and a slight (not significant) decrease in the percentage of children developmentally vulnerable on the communication and general knowledge domain (8.1% to 7.7%).

Table 20: Proportion (%) of children developmentally on track, at risk and vulnerable on each domain of the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2009, 2012 and 2015

  

2009

2012

2015

Domain

 

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

Physical health and wellbeing

On track

76.3

77.7

72.6

77.3

72.7

77.3

At risk

14.3

13.0

16.9

13.4

16.4

13.0

Vulnerable

9.4

9.3

10.6

9.3

10.9

9.7

Social competence

On track

74.9

75.4

75.5

76.5

74.5

75.2

At risk

16.3

15.2

15.9

14.3

16.2

15.0

Vulnerable

8.9

9.5

8.6

9.3

9.4

9.9

Emotional maturity

On track

75.5

75.6

79.0

78.1

75.9

76.4

At risk

15.6

15.5

13.8

14.2

15.9

15.3

Vulnerable

9.0

8.9

7.2

7.6

8.2

8.4

Language and cognitive skills (school-based)

On track

83.8

77.1

86.5

82.6

83.5

84.6

At risk

10.5

14.0

9.5

10.6

10.6

8.9

Vulnerable

5.7

8.9

3.9

6.8

5.9

6.5

Communication skills and general knowledge

On track

75.2

75.0

73.4

74.7

75.5

76.3

At risk

15.9

15.8

18.5

16.3

16.8

15.1

Vulnerable

8.9

9.2

8.1

9.0

7.7

8.5

Source: AEDC National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

Developmental vulnerability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain more likely to be developmentally vulnerable than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, there has been a slight decrease (not significant) from 2012 to 2015 in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains (from 45.4% to 41.9%). Over this same time, there was a small national decrease (significant) in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally vulnerable in Australia from 43.2 per cent to 42.1 per cent.

Table 21: Proportion (%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) of the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2009, 2012 and 2015

 

2009

2012

2015

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

37.0

47.4

45.4

43.2

41.9

42.1

Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

21.8

22.4

21.5

20.9

22.0

20.8

Source: Unpublished data and Australian Early Development Census National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

Developmental vulnerability for children with a language background other than English

The percentage of children with a language background other than English developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) displayed minimal change between 2012 (28.3%) and 2015 (28.0%). Over this same period there was a small national decrease (significant) in the proportion of children with a language background other than English developmentally vulnerable in Australia from 29.5 per cent in 2012 to 27.8 per cent in 2015.

Table 22: Proportion (%) of children with a language background other than English and children with an English speaking background developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) of the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2009, 2012 and 2015

 

2009

2012

2015

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

Language background other than English

32.0

32.2

28.3

29.5

28.0

27.8

English speaking background

20.2

21.7

20.5

20.2

20.9

20.4

Source: Unpublished data and Australian Early Development Census National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

Developmental vulnerability for female and male children

The proportion of male children both in the ACT and nationally who are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) is higher than their female counterparts. There was a small increase (not significant) in the percentage of ACT males developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) between 2012 (28.1%) and 2015 (29.4%). Nationally, there was minimal change in the percentage of males developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) in the same period (28.2% in 2012 and 28.5% in 2015).

Between 2012 and 2015 there was minimal change in the percentage of ACT females developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) from 15.5 per cent (2012) to 15.7 per cent (2015). At the national level the percentage of females developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) was also fairly stable between 2012 and 2015 (15.7 per cent in 2012 and 15.5 per cent in 2015).

Table 23: Proportion (%) of male and female children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domain(s) of the AEDC, ACT and Australia, 2009, 2012 and 2015

 

2009

2012

2015

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

ACT

Australia

Male

29.4

28.5

28.1

28.2

29.0

30.2

Female

15.7

15.5

15.5

15.7

15.0

16.8

Source: Unpublished data and Australian Early Development Census National Report 2015, Department of Education and Training, Canberra.

28 AIHW 2011, Headline Indicators for Children’s Health, Development and Wellbeing, p.50.
29 ACT Government 2016, A Picture of ACT’s Children and Young People 2016
30 2015 AEDC Results for the ACT.
31 ACT Government 2016, A Picture of ACT’s Children and Young People 2016