Between May and August this year, our school will be taking part in the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), which is a nationwide census of early childhood development and helps our school and community understand how children are developing before they start school, what is being done well, and what can be improved. The AEDC is an Australian Government initiative run by the Department of Education and Training.
Children do not need to do anything to be included in the census and will attend class as usual. During the census, teachers record information (including children’s names and dates of birth) based on their knowledge and observations of each child in their class. The questions to be used by the AEDC in the upcoming collection are available at www.aedc.gov.au/instrument.
Once all schools participating in the AEDC have provided their information, and the AEDC is completed, some of the data collected is compiled and made available publicly as de-identified data, i.e., data that does not include any children’s names, ages, addresses or schools.
This data can be very useful for a wide variety of policy, analysis, and statistical and research purposes, so it is provided to a number of bodies, including government and non-government education departments and organisations, independent school systems and researchers. Some of these organisations may also link AEDC data with information from other organisations (such as health departments) to improve programs and policies for young children. When the data is linked with other data, extreme care is taken to ensure individual children cannot be identified.
As so much can be learned about children’s development through the AEDC, the privacy of children participating in it is of paramount importance. To ensure that all of the information collected is handled properly, the AEDC is managed in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs regulate the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information by Australian government agencies, and some private sector organisations, and is part of the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth). APPs also form part of applicable state and territory privacy legislation and policies.
The system used by the AEDC to collect and collate the information is a secure site and children’s information is kept secure at all times. Your child’s data will not be used for any other purpose than described in this letter and the Privacy Statement contained on the AEDC website at www.aedc.gov.au/privacy. You can see how data was collected and presented in 2009, 2012 and 2015 by visiting www.aedc.gov.au/data. Data from the 2018 collection will be presented in a similar way.
This year’s AEDC is a great opportunity for everyone including parents, local communities, schools and other agencies to work together to bring long-lasting benefits to children and their families. If you would like more information about the AEDC, please refer to frequently asked questions section on the AEDC website at www.aedc.gov.au, or phone 1800 092 548.
The AEDC is voluntary and is not a school test, so should you wish for your child/children’s information to be excluded from the census, please contact Rebecca Coslani via email Rebecca.Coslani@education.wa.edu.au
Thank you for supporting the AEDC.