Monash Council is extremely disappointed that kindergarten provider bestchance has made the decision to move out of early years management in the City Of Monash.
This decision leaves 18 community based kindergartens without a service manager. Other kindergartens across the state are also impacted with bestchance announcing it will no longer provide management for around 34 kindergarten services across the eastern region. bestchance has advised Council that it will not continue managing the service as it is no longer seen as core business in Monash.
bestchance operates 18 kindergarten services in Monash under a service agreement with the Department of Education and Training. Council does not run the kindergarten service.
Council’s only involvement in the 18 kindergartens is operating the central enrolment process and providing the buildings to bestchance for the service at a peppercorn rental. The operation of the service, employment of staff and financial management all sits with bestchance.
Council had already been in discussion with bestchance about its provision of service at one local kindergarten and there was ample opportunity for the organisation to be frank and transparent with Council and the community about its strategic directions.
This was the time for bestchance to advise Council of its strategic directions. Instead, bestchance said nothing. It is deeply concerning that bestchance did not reveal its plans earlier.
To be told so close to the end of the kindergarten year and with so little warning is understandably disappointing and unsettling for our Monash families.
There is some relief that bestchance has agreed to continue the service in Monash for all 18 kindergartens until the end of 2020 and Council thanks the Board for this commitment. This provides some short-term certainty for families and buys us some time to find an alternative provider. There is considerable work to be done but be assured Council and the Department of Education and Training are working together to resolve this issue.
Our priority is to provide certainty that a secure and viable service will be provided in Monash in the future and that there will be minimal disruption for families.
As soon as Council became aware of the intention by bestchance to cease its program Council has been working with the Department of Education and Training to secure a new Early Years Provider for the service.
Council is very pleased with the Department response and its commitment to immediately begin the process of securing a new provider.
However, what this decision by bestchance has revealed is that the provision of kindergarten services is changing and we must as a community adapt to this change.
This may mean changes for how kindergarten services are offered in the future in Monash. A review of the demand for the services and the service model will be undertaken to consider how best to ensure that all families can access kindergarten services locally.
Council is working with bestchance and the Department to communicate with Parent advisory groups and the kindergarten community about the changes to service.
Council is not currently an early years’ manager and does not intend to take on this role as there are other providers more suited to deliver kindergarten services. Council has committed to working with the Department in sourcing a new provider and in ensuring a smooth transition to a new provider. We will also ensure that the community is kept up to date with the process.
Media Contact: Jo Robertson 0418 391 979 or email Joanne.Robertson@monash.vic.gov.au