Context statement: Indicator of children’s readiness to start school. When children transition to school already equipped with basic skills for life and learning, they have higher levels of social competence and academic achievement, which in turn increase the likelihood of achieving their potential. For disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families, targeted early intervention positively influences social and economic outcomes.
In 2018, 21.7% of Australian children were developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Development Index. Boys were almost twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable as girls (28% compared with 15%). Indigenous children were twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains as non-Indigenous children (around 40% compared with 20%, respectively).
Developmental vulnerability has remained relatively stable since 2009 for all Australian children; however, the proportion of developmentally vulnerable Indigenous children declined from 47% in 2009 to 41% in 2018 (AIHW 2021).
For more information, see Transition to primary school.
Reference: AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2021. National framework for protecting Australia's children indicators. Cat. no. CWS 62. Canberra: AIHW.