There’s a new Media Release  put out by Council which states: 

“Glen Eira City Council is pleased to report that all children have been offered a place (for 4 year old kindergarten) — including the nine children who have decided to remain on the waiting list for their first preference. Glen Eira Mayor Cr Margaret Esakoff said 736 places have been accepted.”

If true, then this is indeed fantastic. However, there are a few points that are not made clear and which perhaps cast some doubt on the veracity of the above claim.

As late as June 2010, the Age carried this paragraph in its story of kindergarten shortages: “Glen Eira mayor Steven Tang said 285 four-year-olds would miss out on a kindergarten place if no further funding were provided. In order to provide the 15 hours, Glen Eira would need $4 million to build six new kindergartens and replace another facility.”

The Caulfield Leader (18th May, 2010) also said – “Mayor Steven Tang said there were fears three-year-old kindergarten places would also be cut.” And “Murrumbeena Kindergarten teacher Michelle Ball said parents and teachers were concerned the extended hours could sacrifice three-year-old kinder children”.

From Council’s own commissioned report  ‘Universal Access’ there is the following paragraph:

“The clear view of the Glen Eira community is that implementation of 15 hours universal access should not be at the expense of the current service system (particularly three year-old kindergarten) and additional kindergarten facilities should be built to meet this new Council of Australian Governments (COAG) policy requirement. Three-year-old
kindergarten is seen as important in Glen Eira, and is in high demand. Many of the kindergartens that offer three-year-old kindergarten programs report extensive waiting lists. Any reduction in the overall availability of three-year-old programs in future would exacerbate already excessive demand.”

We therefore ask:

  • How has Council achieved such a remarkable turnaround in the space of 6 months?
  • What has happened to 3 year old kindergarten places? Have these been ‘sacrificed’ in order to fill 4 year old places?
  • What other cost cutting has taken place in this ‘achievement’?
  • Is the Media Release merely another example of not telling the whole story?