In the ACT, if a child turns four before 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 that year. If a child turns four on or after 30 April, they can start preschool the first day of term 1 the following year.
Preschool for 3 Year Olds
As announced by Minister Berry, the ACT Government will incrementally introduce early childhood education for three-year-old children, as a key part of the ACT Early Childhood Strategy. The first phase will be targeted to those who have the greatest need, and families that are eligible will be contacted directly to be offered the opportunity
You will only be able to enrol your child if the Directorate contacts you first.
Which Preschool Can I Enrol My Child in?
All four year old ACT children are guaranteed a place in a public preschool. However, you are not guaranteed a place at the preschool site of your preference, due to capacity constraints at some sites.
Preschool places are not allocated on a first come first served basis. Preschool applications are prioritised in this order:
- First consideration is given to siblings of students concurrently enrolled in the primary school and any compelling cases of exceptional circumstances based on student wellbeing.
- The Directorate then prioritises applicants living within the Priority Enrolment Area of the primary school, up to the limits of available places.
- Where there are not enough places for all children living in the PEA, applications will be ranked by “proximity”, that is the distance that your child lives from the preschool. The distance is measured “as the crow flies”.
- The Directorate will find a place for all other children at a preschool, taking into account where your child lives and the number of remaining places.
All public preschools offer a high quality early childhood education.
Koori Preschool is an early childhood program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged three to five years. The play-based program has a strong focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity and culture, literacy, numeracy, and transition to school. Children under the age of three are welcome to attend with a parent or adult carer. Visit the link to Koori preschools for more information.
What Happens Next?
Enrolment applications are assessed against the common set of criteria above, regardless of when the application is received.
The timelines for assessing applications for preschool for 2020 follow the timeline below:
Please be advised that the Directorate has amended the previously published Round 2 preschool dates, following feedback received.
When Will I Hear About My Application?
Offers for preschool places in 2020 will be made in two rounds.
Round One offers will be made from 29 July 2019 for applications received before 5 p.m. on Friday 7 June.
It is possible that not all applicants will receive a Round One offer if there are not enough places at the preschool that you applied for. You will be contacted by the Directorate and you will still be guaranteed a place at a preschool.
Round Two offers will be made from 21 October 2019. These will be for all applicants who did not receive a Round One offer, plus any applications submitted between 8 June and 13 September 2019.
All applicants will receive an offer in Round Two. If you have not received an email offer of a place by Friday 25 October you should contact the preschool you applied to.
If you apply for preschool after 13 September 2019, the Directorate will find a place for your child in a preschool that has remaining places.
What Information Will I Need To Accept An Offer Of Enrolment?
Once you have received an offer of enrolment, you accept the offer by arranging a school visit and taking:
- Your child’s birth certificate (original or certified copy);
- Proof of residence;*
- Your child’s immunisation records (contact the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809 if you need details);
- Any family court or other relevant court orders (if relevant); and
- Emergency Treatment Plan, if required.
*The following documents will be taken as proof of residence: a current rates notice or residential lease, together with a current electricity or gas notice. The school might ask for additional or alternative documents if you cannot provide a rates notice, residential lease and/or gas or electricity notice. Your letter of offer will provide further details.
Review and Appeals Process
Preschool places are allocated according to the preschool prioritisation criteria at Enrolling in Preschool.
If you are not satisfied with an enrolment decision, you can ask first for a review of the decision by writing (email or letter) directly to the school. Please see the ‘Public Schools in the ACT’ listing for contact details. You should provide any information and documentation which support your request. The school principal will conduct the review based on the enrolment criteria at Enrolling in Preschool .
If you are still not satisfied with the school’s review of the preschool enrolment decision, you can ask for an appeal through the Education Directorate’s Education Support Office.
Preschool appeals will be heard after 21 October, when Round Two offers have been made.
Please put in writing any further supporting evidence for the enrolment application. You must include reasons related to preschool enrolment criteria at Enrolling in Preschool in your appeal application.
Requests for appeals can emailed to email@example.com, or by writing to:
PO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601