Big news today for parents in NSW and Victoria as plans for the introduction of an additional year of schooling as a radical revamp of the states’ education systems was announced on Thursday.

Families will be able to access play-based learning, “pre-kindergarten”, which has been touted as “the greatest transformation of early education in a generation”.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews have released a joint statement about the major new education reform.

“Every child in Victoria and NSW will experience the benefits of a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school,” they said

“At the same time, it will benefit hundreds of thousands of working families. It means a brighter future for our kids and their families too.”

The statement claimed that the additional year will give “skills” needed for school and life.

“A year dedicated to growing and learning, new friends and new experiences,” the statement continued. “A year devoted to helping our kids be the very best they can be. Giving them the skills they need for school, but just as importantly, the skills they need for life”.

NSW and Victoria have announced their plans to introduce an extra year of school.

An extra year of free education a “game changer” for families

The extra year before the traditional kindergarten start to primary school, will be focused on play-based learning and will run for five days a week for four-year-olds.

The completely free program will not be compulsory, but the fact that it will eliminate a year of childcare fees is expected to be a big drawcard for families.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says the extra year will be a “game-changer” with kids attending preschool for free five days a week from 2030.

“What it will mean is that every child in NSW will have access to five days of free preschool in the year before they start school,” she told Nine Network on Thursday.

It’s expected to be rolled out in Victoria from 2025 and in NSW by 2030 – at cost of $9 billion and $5.8 billion respectively. Trials will start next year in selected communities.

More jobs

Not only is the extra year a boon for families, the plan requires the recruitment and training of more early education teachers as well as the construction of more preschool facilities on primary school lands.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell explaining that Canada has successfully implemented a similar system, with huge success.

“Universal pre-kindergarten is something I have been working hard to bring to NSW for a number of years, having seen the benefits of it for children and families in countries like Canada,” she said.

“It’s a game changer and it’s exciting and there is big money behind it because we have to do well for our kids,” the Education Minister explained.

The government has announced it will spend $1.4 billion to subsidise preschool from next year, as well as $5 billion over a decade to create more childcare places.