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Funding Essentials for sessional kindergartens

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​The Queensland Kindergarten Funding Essen​tials from 2023​ for sessional kindergartens​ is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of kindy funding, including eligibility, claims and payments, legal obligations, assurance, grants and subsidies.

The following information will support your service's operations and planning around the new kindy funding. Terms and conditions apply from 1 January 2023.

Eligibility criteria for ses​sional kindergartens

To be eligible for funding, service providers must meet 2 sets of criteria.

Child elig​ibility criteria

A child must be at least 4 years of age by 30 June in the year they commence kindergarten. Service providers may only claim funding for each enrolled, eligible child.

Service provider eligibility criteria

Each service provider (members and affiliates of central governing bodies) must:

Requirements for sessional kindergartens

In claiming and receiving kindergarten funding, service providers agree to and must:

  • adhere to the terms and conditions detailed in kindergarten funding service agreements
  • retain and provide on request any evidence to demonstrate compliance with kindergarten funding for up to 3 years, including early childhood teacher qualifications, staff rosters, room rolls, programming information, enrolment forms, policies and procedures, invoices, software provider reports, fee structures and family fee statements
  • spend funding for eligible children in the year for which the funding was claimed
  • adopt a fee structure that is not a barrier to participation by families and the pricing methodology used to establish these fees aligns to the service’s purpose as a not for profit community association
  • ensure fees are developed in consultation with the relevant central governing body
  • ensure funding is used to reduce fees for eligible children (that is, the fees charged for eligible children must be less than fees for non-eligible children attending the kindergarten program)
  • not transfer affiliation from 1 central governing body to another during a calendar year (sessional kindergarten affiliates). The central governing body must provide the Department of Education with confirmation of the new membership
  • ensure enrolment policies and procedures are followed and:
    • prioritise enrolment of eligible children into approved kindergarten programs prior to opening additional programs or enrolling non-eligible children
    • only offer non-eligible children places in an approved kindergarten program at the end of February each year, if places are available after finalising the enrolment of eligible children. Earlier enrolments of non-eligible children must be approved in writing by a central governing body and the Department of Education prior to offering places
    • ensure claims are made for eligible children in 1 kindergarten program only
    • support family choice regarding the service provider to which kindergarten funding is applied, where a child attends multiple services
    • ensure enrolments are not refused for eligible children in an approved kindergarten program if funding has been claimed for that child by another service provider.
  • display the following information at all times an approved kindergarten program is being delivered:
    • approved kindergarten program provider certificate
    • kindergarten program operating times
    • name and qualifications of the early childhood teacher delivering the kindergarten program
    • fee structure clearly documenting the kindergarten program fees, including how subsidies are allocated or passed on to families.
      Please use the Statement of Fees 2023​ as an editable template for the information you are required to provide.
  • use the online application in the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority​ portal to develop and upload a transition statement (with family permission) for each eligible child’s family in November of the kindergarten year. Read more about kindergarten transition statements
  • have a workforce plan that is reviewed at least annually and includes a range of strategies to attract and retain suitably qualified early childhood teachers. Read more about workforce plans​.

Kindergarten funding gr​​ants for sessional kindergartens

Kindergarten funding is provided to service providers through 1 or more grants.​

  • Base subsidy – provided for each eligible child who is enrolled in an approved kindergarten program.
  • Affordability subsidy – provided for each eligible child who meets 1 or more specified criteria.
  • Service location subsidy – provided to service providers (for each eligible child) where the service is located in an eligible remoteness category using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) remoteness measure at the SA2 geographic level.
  • Educational need grant – provided to eligible service providers, determined by the Department of Education, to respond to children’s learning and development needs through provision of evidence-based initiatives.
  • Inclusion subsidy – provided to service providers to support inclusion of all eligible children in an approved kindergarten program irrespective of diversity of background or additional needs.

Kindergarten funding claims and payments for se​​​ssional kindergartens

Sessional kindergartens are funded collectively through a kindergarten funding service agreement with central governing bodies. Each central governing body distributes funding to members or affiliates in accordance with individual kindergarten funding service agreements.

Payments from the Department of Education are made to central governing bodies through 2 block grants in advance over a calendar year, with an acquittal process completed at the end of each quarter.

Payments are made by electronic funds transfer.

Central governing bodies have legal obligations relating to kindergarten funding and must have financial oversight of the use of grant funding provided to each service provider.

Central governing bodies are contractually bound to the terms and conditions in kindergarten funding service agreements. Each central governing body is the legal entity that enters into this contractual and legal relationship with the Department of Education. Legal obligations include:

  • reporting and governance requirements
  • financial accountability
  • compliance with the Kindergarten Funding Essentials, including service eligibility and requirements.

Sessional kindergartens (affiliates only) are bound to the terms and conditions of respective affiliate funding agreements with their central governing body. Affiliate funding agreements legally bind each central governing body’s affiliate to the Department of Education’s kindergarten funding requirements.

Kindergarten funding assurance for sessio​nal kindergartens

The Department of Education conducts assurance reviews of approved kindergarten providers to monitor compliance against the requirements of kindergarten funding.

Assurance reviews are conducted by officers authorised under the Community Services Act 2007. The Community Services Act 2007 authorises investigating, monitoring and ensuring compliance of services in receipt of kindergarten funding.

Funding provided by the Department of Education will be recovered (or reimbursed) in full for all periods where:

  • the kindergarten funding terms and conditions, service eligibility criteria or requirements have not been met, or there is insufficient evidence to support compliance
  • there is insufficient evidence of:
    • appropriate expenditure of subsidies
    • support for claims, particularly where the claim falls outside the normal operating context of the service
    • establishment of fees in accordance with the service’s purpose as a not-for profit association or that the central governing body has not supported these fees.
  • claiming anomalies or deliberate overclaiming have been identified
  • subsidies have not been passed on to families
  • grants have not been correctly applied
  • enrolment of an eligible aged child into the kindergarten program has been denied on the basis of parental choice as to the application of the funding in multiple service settings.

Sessional kindergarten g​​rants (funded through central governing bodies)

Base subsidy for session​al kindergartens

The base subsidy is provided to service providers for each eligible child enrolled in an approved kindergarten program.

Base subsidy amounts funded​​

Check the amount funded through the base subsidy (appendix 4)​.

Base subsidy spending rules

To reduce out-of-pocket kindergarten costs for families, sessional kindergartens are required to pass on to each eligible child’s family a minimum of $1,500 for each eligible child per annum.

The remaining base subsidy funds must only be spent on any of the items outlined below:

  • fee reduction for eligible children only
  • improved entitlements for the early childhood teacher delivering the approved kindergarten program, including wages, professional development or learning resources
  • quality and age-appropriate resources specifically for eligible children
  • operational costs directly related to the delivery of the approved kindergarten program for eligible children.

The base subsidy must not be used for any costs not directly related to the delivery of the approved kindergarten program for eligible children.

Base subsidy financial obligations

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must be able to demonstrate to the Department of Education:

  • how at least $1,500 in base subsidy was used to reduce out-of-pocket costs for each eligible child’s family
  • how the base subsidy was spent by each sessional kindergarten for which the funding was granted
  • that the base subsidy was used for the relevant kindergarten cohort enrolled in the year for which the funding was claimed
  • that the base subsidy was used to directly enhance the approved kindergarten program for which the funding was granted
  • that kindergarten funding was not used to subsidise the delivery of other programs (for example, kindergarten programs for non-eligible children).

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must retain and provide on request evidence to demonstrate compliance with kindergarten funding – base subsidy. This evidence may include:

  • enrolment policies and procedures supported by enrolment forms
  • fee structure for the service/s
  • family fee statements
  • financial reports supported by receipts, invoices, bank account statements
  • early childhood teacher payslips/employment contracts.

Affordability subsidies for session​​al kindergartens

The affordability subsidies are designed to offset a family’s kindergarten fees. The affordability subsidies are provided to service providers for each eligible child who meets one or more specified criteria.

There are 2 affordability subsidies: Kindy Plus and Kindy Family Tax Benefit (FTB).

Affordability – Kindy Plus subsidy​

The Kindy Plus subsidy is applied quarterly for each eligible child who meets 1 or more of the following specified criteria:

  • the family (including foster families and kinship care families as determined by the Child Protection Act 1999) or the child must present 1 of the following:
    • an Australian Government Health Care Card with the child named on the card​
    • a current Australian Government Concession Card
    • a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card or White Card
    • evidence of formal foster or kinship care arrangements.
  • the child is living in a formal child protection out-of-home-care arrangement
  • the child or parent identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • the family has 3 or more children of the same age attending a kindergarten program at the same time
  • the family and child have entered Australia under the Australian Government’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program or is in the process of seeking asylum and holds a temporary visa. Read the table of eligible temporary visas (appendix 5)
  • temporary financial hardship (equivalent to the Australian Government’s Additional Child Care Subsidy). Download the affordability – Kindy Plus (temporary financial hardship) category record of application and service decision form (appendix 6)​.

A child who is eligible for Kindy Plus will be eligible for fee-free kindergarten.

Affordability – Kindy FTB subsidy

The Kindy FTB subsidy is applied quarterly for each eligible child whose family was eligible for the Australian Government’s Family Tax Benefit Part A or Part B payment in the financial year prior to the kindergarten year.

The 2021–22 financial year is the relevant financial year for the 2023 kindergarten year (January to December). If a family was not eligible for the family tax benefit in the 2021–22 financial year, they are not entitled to the Kindy FTB subsidy for the 2023 kindergarten year.

Some families may receive confirmation of eligibility during 2023 as families have until 30 June 2023 to lodge claims for the 2021–22 financial year. In this instance, and where the child has been enrolled since the commencement of the 2023 kindergarten year, the family will be eligible for the Kindy FTB subsidy for the whole year. A claim for back-payment of the subsidy can be made by the kindergarten service.

A family can check their eligibility for Family Tax Benefit by visiting the Services Australia Family Tax Benefit website​.

A child who is eligible for Kindy FTB will be eligible for fee-reduced kindergarten.

Affordability subsidies funded amounts​​

Read the details of amounts funded through both affordability subsidies (appendix 4)​.

Affordability subsidies spending rules

Affordability subsidies spending rules include:

  • affordability subsidies must only be used to offset the cost of kindergarten fees paid by families through reducing out-of-pocket kindergarten costs for each eligible child’s family
  • periodic fee deductions may be made on a daily/weekly/fortnightly/quarterly basis
  • the subsidies must be applied to each eligible child only. Affordability subsidies cannot be applied by the service provider to reduce the overall kindergarten fee for all eligible children
  • if a service provider claims the Kindy Plus subsidy for an eligible child, service providers are not able to claim the Kindy FTB subsidy for that same child
  • the full quarterly amount for subsidies must be passed on to each eligible child’s family, irrespective of how many weeks the child was at the service in the claim period. A credit on families’ accounts, after all out-of-pocket expenses are paid for each quarter, cannot be applied. All remaining funds must be used in accordance with the base subsidy spending rules
  • as the Kindy Plus subsidy is paid in advance, once a child is no longer eligible (for example, Australian Government Health Care Card or Concession Card expires), the service provider cannot claim the subsidy for that same child in subsequent terms
  • a child eligible for the Kindy FTB subsidy will receive the subsidy or part thereof (if the child leaves the service) for the whole kindergarten year.

Affordability subsidies financial obligations

The central governing body must be able to demonstrate to the Department of Education how the affordability subsidies have been used to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families whose eligible child/ren are enrolled in the approved kindergarten program.

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must retain and provide on request evidence to demonstrate compliance with kindergarten funding – affordability subsidies. This evidence may include:

  • enrolment policy and procedures supported by enrolment forms
  • fee structure for the service
  • family fee statements
  • service management software program reports
  • evidence (including expiry dates) of any applicable veterans’, Health Care or Concession cards, kinship or foster care arrangements, or a copy of Services Australia letter confirming Family Tax Benefit eligibility for the current kindergarten year
  • Kindy Plus (temporary financial hardship) subsidy record of application and service decision f​orm to support all financial hardship decisions.

Service lo​cation subsidies for sessional kindergartens

Service location subsidies are provided for each eligible child to service providers located in an eligible remoteness category using the ABS remoteness measure at the statistical area level 2.

There are 2 service location subsidies: Early Childhood Teachers and Financial Viability.

Service l​ocation – Early Childhood Teachers subsidy

The subsidy is designed to assist service providers to attract and retain qualified early childhood teachers to deliver an approved kindergarten program.

Service l​​ocation – Financial Viability subsidy

The subsidy is designed to assist service providers with the cost of delivering a kindergarten program in a regional/remote area.

The Department of Education determines service and funding eligibility.

Service location subsidies amounts funded

The subsidy is calculated as a per child amount multiplied by the number of eligible children enrolled in the service. Where eligible enrolments are fewer than 22 children (at the service), a minimum payment based on 22 enrolments will be provided.

The kindergarten funding service agreement includes a condition that the service provider must seek to maximise the number of eligible aged children enrolled in the program. As a condition of payment, the Department of Education may seek additional information or evidence from the service about activities to maximise eligible aged enrolments.

Read the details of service location amounts that can be claimed (appendix 4)​.

Service location subsidies spending rules

The service location – Early Childhood Teacher subsidy must only be used to attract and retain qualified early childhood teachers at the eligible service, including:

  • assisting the early childhood teacher with relocation costs
  • subsidising rent for the early childhood teacher
  • paying above award wages
  • providing additional paid annual leave
  • subsidising flights to and from the community to the early childhood teacher’s home base
  • professional development for the early childhood teacher specifically to assist them in delivering an approved kindergarten program
  • learning resources for the early childhood teacher to enhance their delivery of an approved kindergarten program.

Service providers must provide an annual service location – Early Childhood Teachers plan to their central governing body specifying how the funding will be used to attract and retain early childhood teachers. Download a sample template​ in an editable format.

The service location – Financial Viability subsidy may only be used to offset the operational costs for delivery of the approved kindergarten program at an eligible service.

If the service wishes to use either of the subsidies for any purpose other than the intent of each subsidy, approval from their central governing body and the Department of Education must be obtained.

Service location subsidies financial obliga​tions

The central governing body must be able to demonstrate to the Department of Education how the service location subsidies have been spent for the purpose of attracting and retaining a qualified early childhood teacher and for financial viability (if applicable) at each sessional kindergarten.

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must retain and provide on request evidence to demonstrate compliance with the service location subsidies. This evidence may include:

  • early childhood teacher payslips/employment contract
  • correspondence relating to negotiation of the early childhood teacher wage and entitlements
  • financial reports supported by receipts, invoices, bank account statements
  • fee structure for the service
  • family fee statements
  • evidence of administering and monitoring financial viability component to member services
  • annual service location – Early Childhood Teachers plans.

Educational need gran​t for sessional kindergartens

The educational need grant (Kindy Uplift) is provided to eligible service providers to respond to children’s learning and development needs through provision of evidence-based initiatives. Kindy Uplift is designed to strengthen children’s access to, and meaningful participation in, the full range of kindergarten experiences.

The Department of Education determines service and funding eligibility.

Educational need grant – Kindy Uplift amounts fu​nded

Read more about educational need funding (appendix 4)​.

Educational need grant – Kindy Uplift spending rules

Kindy Uplift must be used to fund programs, resources, educational supports and professional development to build educator capability, support inclusion and improve children’s learning and development with a focus on one or more of the priority areas:

  • social and emotional capability
  • physicality
  • thinking and responding
  • oral language and communication
  • access and inclusion
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access and inclusion (from 2024).

Service providers must submit an annual Kindy Uplift plan to demonstrate how the funding will improve outcomes for eligible children. Each Kindy Uplift plan must be approved by a Kindy Uplift advisor allocated to the service.

Kindy Uplift must not be used for any costs not directly related to the delivery of the approved Kindy Uplift plan.

Educational need grant – Kindy Uplift finan​cial obligations

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must be able to demonstrate to the Department of Education how Kindy Uplift was spent by each service provider for which the funding was granted.

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must retain and provide on request evidence to demonstrate compliance with kindergarten funding – educational need grant.

This evidence may include:

  • enrolment policies and procedures supported by enrolment forms
  • financial reports supported by receipts, invoices, bank account statements
  • an approved Kindy Uplift plan specifying a focus on 1 or more of the 5 priority areas.

Each central governing body must acquit this funding at the end of each calendar year. This acquittal is to be submitted through QGrants on or before 28 January of the following calendar year.

Inclusion subsidies for sessiona​l kindergartens

Inclusion subsidies are provided to service providers to support inclusion of all eligible children in an approved kindergarten program irrespective of diversity of background or additional needs. Funding is provided to ensure all eligible children meaningfully participate in kindergarten on the same basis as their peers.

There are 2 inclusion subsidies: Inclusion Ready and Kindergarten Inclusion Support Scheme.

Inclusion Ready subsidy​​​

The Inclusion Ready subsidy is provided to service providers for each eligible child enrolled in an approved kindergarten program.

The Inclusion Ready subsidy is provided to service providers to:

  • improve kindergarten participation and attendance for all children
  • ensure children with diverse backgrounds or additional needs are provided with adjustments, supplementary to the strategies and resources already available
  • engage in professional development to ensure educators support children and families to feel welcome, engaged and culturally safe
  • support the transition into kindergarten or Prep for children with diverse backgrounds or additional needs.

Kindergarten Inclusion​​ Support Scheme subsidy

The Kindergarten Inclusion Support Scheme subsidy is provided to service providers to make reasonable adjustments for eligible children who meet 1 or more of the following criteria:

  • a suspected or diagnosed disability
  • a suspected or diagnosed developmental delay
  • present with challenging behaviours
  • a serious medical or health condition, including mental health
  • present with trauma-related behaviours or additional and high-support needs.

Funding is designed to support educators to meet their legal responsibility to ensure all children are included in the kindergarten program through:

  • building educator capability to develop and implement programs inclusive of children with disability or additional needs
  • promoting collaboration between families and professionals, including National Disability Insurance Scheme partners, early childhood development programs, specialist support providers and local schools
  • providing equitable access to resources, participation and opportunities for children to demonstrate their learning.

Funding will be provided based on the level of adjustments made to enable the eligible child to access and participate in the kindergarten program.

Inclusion subsidies amounts funded

Read the amount funded through the inclusion subsidy (appendix 4)​.

Inclusion subsidies spending rules​​

Inclusion subsidies must be spent to improve access and participation for all children, including those with diverse backgrounds or additional needs. Funding must be spent on additional educators, programs, resources, equipment, educational materials, professional development, or visiting partners or specialists.

Inclusion subsidies finan​cial obligations

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must be able to demonstrate to the Department of Education how the inclusion subsidies were spent by each service provider for which the funding was granted.

Each central governing body or sessional kindergarten must retain and provide on request evidence to demonstrate compliance with kindergarten funding – inclusion subsidies. This evidence may include:

  • enrolment policies and procedures supported by enrolment forms
  • financial reports supported by receipts, invoices, bank account statements.​​​
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Last updated 23 January 2023