KU Annual Report 2007 - Page 8

Centres and programs Report Preschools KU continued to operate a total of 95 preschools including 85 centre based, 8 mobiles and 2 Learning Together inclusive preschool programs for children with additional needs. In the lead up to the State election, a number of KU preschools supported the Children’s Choice Preschool Campaign to highlight the importance of making preschool services accessible and affordable for families in NSW. Under the PIRP Viability Funding, 33 KU preschools were successful in obtaining an additional $369,993 in funding that was used to lower fees for all families or to give additional fee relief to families on low incomes. With the support of the Independent Education Union and IBM, a number of KU preschools participated in the IBM Kidsmart Project. This includes the centres being given an IBM computer, software and child furniture for children to use and training for staff. This has been a successful project for many years and KU will continue to be involved wherever possible in future years. During 2007, major building works were carried out at KU Newport and KU Phoenix Preschools. Work continued on the North Katoomba venue used by KU Blue Mountains Mobile Preschool to enable it to be re-licensed as a permanent centre based preschool when the work is completed early in 2008. Plans and costings were finalised for a total refurbishment of KU Isobel Pulsford Preschool as well as a variety of building projects to be completed in 22 preschools during the December 2007/January 2008 period. Long Day Care KU operates 16 community-based long day care centres and 1 before and after school care, plus 14 work-based long day care services including 1 after school care program on behalf of 16 clients in NSW and Victoria. The number of long day care centres increased by one with the commencement of The Joey Club Melbourne in January. In 2007 NCAC introduced a system of spot checks to monitor the ongoing compliance to the standards. KU responded to 2 documents on the review of the NCAC Draft Child Care Accreditation Standards. The main areas of concern were the proposed introduction of one Quality Assurance System for all service types and the proposed introduction of a standard of accredited/not accredited, thus removing any indication of variations in quality. Utilisation continued to be closely monitored in some centres and the employment of a Marketing Coordinator to support centres was welcomed. KU supported the 1:4 Campaign facilitated by Community Child Care and KU is represented on the DoCS 1:4 reference group. Both of these initiatives support a move to more appropriate staff:child ratios in the next regulations. AMEP The Adult Migrant English Programme provides language classes for eligible newly arrived migrants. KU is a part of a consortium led by acl and KU’s role is to provide child care for children of students attending language classes. Child care is provided in child care centres attached to the language college (onsite) or in mainstream child care centres. KU operates 7 onsite centres in Sydney with a total capacity of 195 enrolments in the morning and 180 in the afternoon. There were 1,560 children in the program over the 2007 calendar year which was an increase of 8% from previous year and 152% more than original tender forecast of 619 children per year. The largest group of immigrants in 2007 was from Africa and these families were humanitarian refugees, in particular from the Sudan, and included a number of different tribal groups and languages. Other groups with humanitarian refugee visas include families from Iraq, Burma, and Afghanistan. Those on business visas were primarily from Pakistan, India, China and Korea and those on family reunion visas were from Vietnam. Special Education Program In 2007 the Special Education Team [SET] supported 1,202 funded children with additional needs to be included in KU centres. Funding to support these children was provided from three main sources: SCAN [Supporting Children with Additional Needs], Department of Education and Training [DET] and the Inclusion Support Program [ISA]. As well as participating in the KU 8 KU’s 112 th Annual Report 2007