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Improvement in key development indicators for Maribyrnong kids

Children living in the Maribyrnong electorate have improved in two out of five key development indicators, according to the latest round of data from the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI).

The Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, said the 2012 data, released today, showed Australian children have improved their results since the first AEDI data collection was held in 2009.

Data was collected in May 2012 on nearly 290,000 children nationwide, representing 96.5 per cent of children in their first year of formal schooling.

Teachers filled out a checklist on each child based on their own observations and knowledge.

The 2012 results were compared to data collected about prep children in 2009.

“This second round of data shows that children of this age in Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong and Brimbank have improved their development in the areas of language and cognitive skills, and communications and general knowledge, “ Mr Shorten said.

“However, their results were poorer in the areas of physical, social and emotional development.”

“It shows that the work being done by governments and community organisations to better support vulnerable children and their families is working, but of course more needs to be done.

“This latest round of data can now be used by schools, community groups, government agencies, early childhood centres and other organisations to develop targeted programs for those children in our community still at risk of falling behind.”

Key results for the Maribyrnong area in 2012 include:

• Data collected on 1,767 children in their prep year
• 8.1% found the be vulnerable in physical health and wellbeing, up from 7.0% in 2009 (National average 9.3%)
• 8.6% vulnerable in social competence, up from 7.2% in 2009 (national average 9.3%)
• 6% vulnerable in emotional maturity, up slightly from 5.9% in 2009 (national average 7.6%)
• 4.7% vulnerable in language and cognitive skills, down significantly from 7.6% in 2009 (national average 6.8%)
• 10.6% vulnerable in communication skills and general knowledge, down sharply from 12.5% in 2009 (national average 9.0%)
• 20.7% vulnerable in one or more areas, down from 21.9% in 2009 (national average 22%)
• 9.7% vulnerable in two or more areas, down from 10.8% in 2009.(national average 10.8%)
“It should be noted that results for children’s development in the Maribyrnong area were better than the national average on all but one of the measures.

“We are making a great deal of progress, and are determined to do more.”

Mr Shorten said research shows that investing time, effort and resources in children’s early years benefits them, their families and the entire community.

“These results are a valuable tool, for the first time showing a nationwide comparison between children in their first year of school.

“There are some encouraging results in here, we have taken some positive steps, but we know there is always more to do to better help young children and give them the best possible start in life,” Mr Shorten said.

“That’s why the Labor Government is investing a record $23.2 billion over the next four years in early childhood education and care. And it’s why we will implement the National Plan for School Improvement so that every child gets a world-class education no matter which school they attend.”

Nationally, the results of the AEDI show that:

• The number of children who are developmentally vulnerable in one or more areas has fallen since 2009, to 22 per cent – a 1.6 per cent improvement.
• In four of the five areas, Australian children are doing better than they were in 2009 – that is, there are fewer children who are developmentally vulnerable in each of these four areas.
• Indigenous children are showing significant signs of progress. In 2012, 43.2 per cent of children were developmentally vulnerable, down from 47.4 per cent in 2009. While this figure is still far too high, it is a strong improvement in just three years.

To access the 2012 AEDI data go to: www.aedi.org.au

Media Contact: Jayne Edwards 9326 1300/0410 455 737