Inclusion Support Program review

In March 2023, we commissioned independent consultants to review the Inclusion Support Program. The review’s final report was released in November 2023.

On this page:

About the program

The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) helps children with additional needs participate in early childhood education and care (ECEC). It does this through tailored support and funding to ECEC services.

The program supports services to:

  • address barriers to inclusion
  • build their capacity and capability to include children with additional needs
  • implement quality, inclusive and equitable practices.

Learn more about the Inclusion Support Program

2023 review

Aim of review

The aim of the review was to:

  • examine the access to, affordability of, and quality of ISP services
  • examine the program’s performance against effectiveness, efficiency and strategic policy alignment criteria
  • provide evidence-based findings to inform consideration of accessibility, future investment and policy settings.

Extensive consultation was held with stakeholders for the review.

The review aimed to identify revisions that could be made to the program in the short term, while establishing a framework and process for its future redesign.

Review findings

In November 2023, we released the final report from the review. The review found:

  • the program met its objectives when supports offered were delivered and accessed as intended
  • stakeholders were supportive of the program, and its objectives and intent.

However, the review identified resources were not directed towards activities that have the greatest impact. It has suggested improvements to increase inclusion.

The report:

  • made 21 findings.
  • identified 21 short and medium-term opportunities to strengthen the program
  • recommended 5 longer-term opportunities to embed inclusion in the sector.

Findings and opportunities were grouped around 5 policy areas:

  • strategic intent
  • capability building
  • needs-based support
  • effective resourcing
  • monitoring and evaluation.

The review will feed into the:

The review noted the need for strong alignment to the National Vision for ECEC and Early Years Strategy, both which are in draft.

Read the final report from the 2023 review into the Inclusion Support Program

2021 review

An evaluation in 2021 found the program supported the inclusion of children with additional needs, and the program was supported by stakeholders. The evaluation noted challenges included:

  • flexibility of support arrangements
  • administrative systems
  • wider role of ECEC and support.

Read the evaluation of ISP on the Australian Institute of Families Studies’ website