Are you ready? - New staffing requirements come into effect in 2020

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  Published on Tuesday, 02 July 2019

Are you ready? - New staffing requirements come into effect in 2020

Library Home  >  Government Policy & Quality Standards
  Published on Tuesday, 02 July 2019

With less than six months to go until new early childhood staffing requirements come into effect, now is the time to confirm you are prepared.

From 1 January 2020, long day care providers and preschools/kindergartens are required to have a second early childhood teacher or a 'suitably qualified person' in attendance when 60 or more preschool aged children or younger are being educated and cared for.

This requirement applies in all states and territories except NSW where the new child to educator ratio took effect several years ago.

What is a suitably qualified person?

A suitably qualified person has the same status as an early childhood teacher when it comes to educator to child ratios.

In acknowledgement that many highly experienced early childhood educators may not be fully qualified and working towards meeting the qualification requirements, ACECQA has provided the following definitions for a 'suitably qualified person':

  • An individual who is 'actively working towards' (see Regulation 10 of the National Regulations) an approved early childhood teaching qualification AND has completed at least 50 per cent of the qualification or holds an approved early childhood education and care diploma
    OR
  • An individual who is registered (accredited in New South Wales) as a primary or secondary school teacher in Australia AND holds an ACECQA approved early childhood education and care diploma (or higher approved qualification)

In response to ongoing workforce shortages, particularly in rural and regional areas, in June ACECQA decided to extend an existing transitional measure that recognises registered/accredited primary school teachers who have completed an approved diploma (or higher) education and care qualification as equivalent early childhood teachers until the end of 2021. This measure is expected to end at the end of 2021, however, it offers educators and services more time to meet the stricter qualifications requirements.

You can check whether your qualification is approved on the ACECQA qualifications list and it's important to keep a copy of your qualification paperwork and accreditation documentation as evidence that you meet the requirements.

What do the regulations say?

Regulation 133 and 134 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations state that for early childhood services that provide education and care to 60 or more children preschool age or younger, but not more than 80, the second ECT or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for:

  • at least 3 hours per day, if the service operates for 50 or more hours a week
  • 30 per cent of the operating hours of the service if the service operates for less than 50 hours
  • OR, be employed for half of the full-time equivalent hours of the service

For services that provide education and care to 80 or more children preschool age or younger the second ECT or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for:

  • at least 6 hours a day, if the service operates for 50 or more hours a week
  • 60 per cent of the operating hours of the service per day, if the service operates for less than 50 hours
  • OR, be employed full-time

This is the final stage in the government's ramping up of staffing requirements in the early childhood sector, which have progressively been introduced since 2012. Access a full summary of the changes here.

State and Territory requirements

Although the NQF doesn't require early childhood teachers to be registered, it is necessary under some state and territory legislation. You can access more information about the rules in your state or territory by contacting your local teacher regulatory authority.
 


This article is sponsored by ChildcareJobs.com.au the only destination for early childhood professionals looking for work.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 December 2019



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