Changes to the National Regulations
State and territory ministers and the Australian Government agreed to amendments to the National Regulations, to come into effect 1 June 2014 (except Western Australia).
Informed by sector feedback, the amendments will deliver benefits for providers, educators and regulatory authorities by streamlining processes, reducing paperwork and administration, and providing greater flexibility.
Streamlining supervisor certificate application process
Ministers have listened to sector feedback and supported changes to streamline the supervisor certificate application process.
Most individuals will no longer need to apply to the regulatory authority for a supervisor certificate. Instead, regulatory authorities will be able to grant supervisor certificates to a new prescribed class of person, which can apply to any person working at a service who has been identified by the approved provider within the service as:
- responsible for the day-to-day management of the service; or
- having supervisory and leadership responsibilities for part of the service; or
- a family day care co-ordinator.
These changes come into effect on 1 June 2014 in all states and territories except Western Australia and apply to centre-based and family day care services. Western Australia will make changes regarding supervisor certificates at a later date. Until then, the application process for supervisor certificates in Western Australia will remain unchanged.
ACECQA is developing a detailed fact sheet about the changes to the supervisor certificate application process and this will be available on the ACECQA website soon.
Greater flexibility for centre-based services to meet staffing requirements
To improve the practicality of recruiting educators, new educators in centre-based services will be able to be employed for a three-month probationary period, while still counting towards staffing ratio requirements. New educators without an approved qualification working at a centre-based service that educates and cares for children preschool age or under can be counted as a certificate III qualified educator for the purposes of educator-to-child ratios during the probationary period. This will apply in all states and territories except NSW and SA who are retaining current requirements for certificate III educators in centre-based services.
ECT requirements for services in remote and very remote areas
Recognising that workforce shortages can make it difficult for services in remote areas to engage an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT), centre-based services in remote and very remote areas may access an ECT, such as through information technology, rather than be required to have an ECT in attendance. Services need to access the ECT for at least 20 per cent of the time they provide education and care. This applies until 1 January 2018.
More practical approach to submission of QIPs for new services
New services will no longer have to submit a copy of their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) to the regulatory authority within three months of being granted service approval. Approved providers of a new service still need to complete their QIP within three months but will only be required to submit it upon request.
Amendments affecting operational requirements
First aid requirements: For services operating on a school site, a staff member other than an educator can meet the first aid qualification requirements, including anaphylaxis and asthma management, if they are in attendance and immediately available in case of an emergency. For example, a school nurse may be counted towards these requirements.
Fencing requirements for Family Day Care (FDC) venues: Fencing requirements no longer apply to FDC residences or venues where education and care is only provided for children over preschool age.
Safety glass for family day care (FDC) services: This change aligns the National Regulations with the Australian Standard for safety glass, which specifies requirements for glazed areas one metre above floor level or less. This regulation only applies to FDC services approved by the approved provider after 1 June 2014.
ACECQA is updating the Guide to the National Law and National Regulations to reflect the amendments.
Fact sheets outlining all of the national regulation amendments and the state specific changes are available on the ACECQA website.
2014 NQF Review
A 2014 Review of the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care is being undertaken to ensure the goal of improving quality in education and care services is being met in the most efficient and effective way.
Face to face consultation sessions with the children's education and care sector, industry peak bodies, families and other interested parties will be held in every capital city and a series of regional locations from around 26 May to 20 June 2014. These sessions will provide an opportunity for interested parties to give feedback on the implementation and operation of the National Quality Framework since it was introduced over two years ago.
The face to face consultation sessions will also be complemented by an online consultation process which is hosted on www.woolcott.com.au/NQFReview. With the online consultation process, you can provide a formal submission to the review or just brief comments on aspects of the National Quality Framework, whatever is your preference and suits you. You can also complete a short survey. The closing date for feedback is 30 June 2014.
Everyone is encouraged to have their say during the consultations, online and/or in face to face sessions in each state and territory. The 2014 Review is your opportunity to contribute ideas to enhance the operation of the National Quality Framework.
For more information on taking part please visit www.woolcott.com.au/NQFReview
NQF Snapshot Q1 2014 released
The first NQF Snapshot for 2014 reveals close to two-thirds of assessed children's education and care services are Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard (NQS).
The NQF Snapshot Q1 2014 shows that 61% of all rated services are Exceeding or Meeting NQS, and many of the services rated Working Towards NQS are also very close to reaching Meeting or Exceeding NQS.
The findings in this quarter are consistent with previous Snapshots as services continue to be assessed and rated.
The Snapshot is available on the ACECQA website.
Medical conditions policy
To help children stay safe and healthy, services must have a medical conditions policy that includes:
- the management of asthma, diabetes or a diagnoses that a child is at risk of anaphylaxis
- information to staff about managing these conditions
- service procedures if a child enrolled has a specific health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition
- the self-administration of medication by children over pre-school age, if permitted
- recording notification from a child who has self-administered medication.
Services must have a medical conditions policy even if they have no children with a medical condition enrolled at the service as new medical conditions can emerge while a child is at the service.
If a child enrols at the service and has a medical condition, the child's family must provide a medical management plan. In collaboration with the family, the service must develop a communications plan to minimise risk by ensuring staff and volunteers understand the medical conditions policy, and each child's medical requirements.
For further information, read the helpful fact sheet for services and families from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Long Day Care Professional Development Programme
Long day care services will have the opportunity to apply for up to $10,450 per educator under the $200 million Long Day Care Professional Development Programme. The funding can be used to help with meeting the costs of gaining early childhood qualifications, accessing training and for services to backfill staff.
Applications open 19 May 2014 and close at 5pm (AEST) 13 June 2014. For more information visit the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme website
Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards
Australian Family has announced the finalists in the 2014 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards. The 88 educators and services have worked hard to achieve this status and we commend them all on their achievement. View the full list of finalists.
The judging panel, comprising respected members from the sector, will now review the finalists' submissions against criteria based on the seven quality areas in the National Quality Framework.
On 20 May, Australian Family will announce the national winner in the Rising Star Award category along with state winners in the categories of Early Childhood Educator of the Year, Early Childhood Director of the Year and Early Childhood Service of the Year. Check the Awards website for details and like Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards on Facebook for regular updates.
The national winners will be announced at the Awards Gala Celebration on 20 June.
ACECQA visits Tasmania
ACECQA’s Board and Executive were out and about in Tasmania this week visiting services in Launceston and Burnie. They also celebrated National Families Week and the work of children’s education and care educators at a breakfast in Hobart with the Deputy Premier, the Honourable Jeremy Rockliff and more than 50 people from our sector.
Pictured: ACECQA Board member Tracey Bradley, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff and ACECQA Board Chair Rachel Hunter.