About the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD)
Children and young people are at the centre of everything we do. The Department aims to support every family so all young South Australians from 0-18 years of age have the opportunity to become happy, healthy and safe members of our community.
Our key functions are to:
- oversee early childhood care and services for South Australian families
DECD works with all families early in their journey to support parents and ensure the individual needs of each child are met. We partner with the Australian Government as well as the community sector and local government to integrate all services, with a relentless focus on providing high quality teaching and learning.
- provide services that benefit children and families
DECD oversees the provision of local family day care, preschool education, children's centres, out of school hours care programs plus health and wellbeing services for families.
- lead and manage South Australia’s education system
DECD manages South Australia’s public education system, with the goal of delivering world-class primary and secondary education in all areas of the curriculum. At the local level, we want every child to achieve their potential, and we see families as our partners to ensure each and every child leaves school with strong skills and a positive outlook. Public education will be there for every child, all of the time.
Early childhood, preschools and schools
Our core purpose is to provide early childhood development and wellbeing, and public education services, including some services previously delivered by Families SA and SA Health via the women’s and children’s health network.
Every week day, more than 180 000 children and young people across our State attend public schools or early childhood settings. These preschools, children’s centres, primary schools, secondary schools, area schools and special schools are located in the city and metropolitan areas, as well as in rural and remote areas. Collectively these education and care settings are known as 'sites' – there are about 1 000 sites in the State.
There are around 13 500 teachers and early childhood educators employed by the department to guide learning and development.
Curriculum and learning
Curriculum describes the core knowledge, understanding, skills and capabilities students should learn as they progress through school.
Educators use curriculum to:
- plan student learning
- monitor and assess student progress
- report student progress to parents
- support student wellbeing.
South Australian schools use the South Australian Curriculum, Standards and Accountability Framework (SACSA) and are progressively implementing the Australian Curriculum which is a national curriculum that sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students.
Families and community
By working together more closely with families, we know we can provide better support to families so that every child can grow, learn and develop and lead rich, fulfilling and productive lives.
We have a special focus on ensuring our most vulnerable children and young people at risk of disadvantage are supported to stay engaged as learners. We believe that it’s better to support families when problems first arise rather than try to pick up the pieces later when children start school.