National Quality Framework Educator to Child Ratios and Qualifications Fact Sheet October 2011

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1 National Quality Framework Educator to Child Ratios and Qualifications Fact Sheet October 2011 This fact sheet outlines the educator to child ratios and requirements for Victorian centre-based education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework. National Quality Framework From 2012, Victorian preschools (kindergartens), long day care and outside school hours care services will be required to operate under the National Quality Framework. Services will need to meet the requirements of: Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) and the National Quality Standard (Schedule 1 of the Regulations) The National Law and the Regulations are available at The National Quality Framework introduces a number of changes to the educator to child ratios. Transitional provisions allow services additional time to meet any new requirements. Educator to child ratios Educator to child ratios must be met whenever children are being educated and cared for by an education and care service (section 169). To be counted in the educator to child ratios, educators must be working directly with children (regulation 122). The educator to child ratio is determined by the age and number of children being educated and cared for at the service. The educator to child ratio is different for children under 36 months of age (1 educator for ) than for children 36 months of age and over ( ). This reflects the more intensive care younger children need. In addition to meeting the child to staff ratios prescribed in the Regulations, the approved provider must also ensure adequate supervision of every child being educated and cared by the service at all times, including but not limited to excursions 1, outdoor play, toileting and whilst sleeping (section 165). Depending on the program activity, its location and the mixture of children s ages and needs in the group, the approved provider may consider increasing the number of educators relative to the number of children to ensure adequate supervision and implementation of an appropriate program for each child. From 2012 the minimum number of educators required to educate and care for children are: children from birth to 24 months of age a ratio of (regulation 123) children aged over 24 months but a ratio of (regulation 357) children preschool a ratio of (regulation 360) children over preschool age a ratio of (regulation 355) From 2016 the minimum number of educators required to educate and care for children are: children from birth to 24 months of age a ratio of 1 educator for (regulation 123) children aged over 24 months but a ratio of (regulation 357) children preschool 11 children (regulation 123) children over preschool age a ratio of (regulation 355) 1 When planning an excursion, the approved provider of an education and care service must conduct a risk assessment before the excursion takes place in accordance with regulation 100 and regulation

2 Qualification requirements Diploma level s From 2012 the requirements for educators are: for children aged at least 1 of every 3 required educators must hold at least an approved diploma level education and care (regulation 361) for children preschool are 36 months of age at least 1 of every 2 required educators must hold at least an approved diploma level education and care (regulation 361) for children over preschool age at least 50 per cent of required educators must hold, or be enrolled in and studying for, a diploma level that has been approved for educators working with children over preschool age in Victoria (regulation 356(2)). From 2014 the s requirements for educators are: for children preschool age or under at least 50 per cent of required educators must hold (or be actively working towards) at least an approved diploma level (regulation 126(1)). for children over preschool age at least 50 per cent of required educators must hold, or be enrolled in and studying for, a diploma level that has been approved for educators working with children over preschool age in Victoria (regulation 356(2)). Certificate III level s From 2014 the certificate III level requirements for educators are: for children aged all other educators must hold or be actively working towards an approved certificate III education and care (regulation 126) for children preschool are 36 months of age all other educators must hold or be actively working towards an approved certificate III education and care (regulation 126) for children over preschool age all other educators must hold or be actively working towards an approved certificate III education and care or commence obtaining an approved education and care within six months of commencing to educate and care for children (regulation 356(3)). The requirement to hold a certificate III level (or actively working towards) does not apply to educators who (regulation 364): have completed by 31 December 2011; a professional development course approved by the Secretary under the Children s Services Regulations 2009, and have been employed full time and continuously as a staff member at a licensed children s service or outside school hours care service for a period of at least 5 years immediately preceding 25 May 2009; or have been employed part-time and continuously as a staff member at a licensed children s service or outside school hours care service for a period of at least 10 years immediately preceding 25 May An educator at a centre-based service can be included to meet a relevant educator to child ratio for the service until 31 December 2015 without having, or be actively working towards, a certificate III level education and care if: the educator has been continuously employed as an educator in an education and care service or a children's service for a period of at least 15 years up to immediately before the 2012; and the educator is employed by the same approved provider as the educator was employed by immediately before 2012 (regulation 240). Early childhood teacher requirements From 2014 services must have access to an early childhood qualified teacher working with the service (regulation 362) or have an early childhood teacher in attendance at the service (regulation 130 to 134). If a teacher is absent from a service due to short term illness or leave not exceeding 12 weeks, a person with an approved diploma level education and care or a person with a in primary teaching may be taken to be the early childhood teacher (regulation 135). Transitional provisions allow a person to be taken to be an early childhood teacher if they are actively working towards an early childhood teaching and either provide evidence that they have completed 50 per cent of the course or hold a diploma level education and care (regulation 242). This provision applies between 2014 and

3 First aid requirements From 2012 services must ensure that the following persons are in attendance and immediately available in an emergency and at all times that children are being educated and cared for by the service (regulation 136): at least one educator who holds a current approved first aid at least one educator who has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training at least one educator who has undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training 2. A person who on 2012 holds a first aid, or who completed approved first aid training that met requirements under the Children s Services Act 1996 and the Children s Services Regulations 2009 that is not listed as approved first aid training by the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority, will be taken to hold an approved first aid until 31 December 2012, or the date on which the training would have been required to be updated or renewed (if that date falls before 31 December 2012) (regulation 245). Approved s The Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority will publish on their website the s that have been approved for the purposes of the National Law. This list will include the s that are approved for early childhood teachers, qualified educators and certificate level educators. Upon application, the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority will determined whether a (including a foreign ) is equivalent to a required by the Regulations (section 169(7)). An application for an assessment of equivalence must include the information prescribed in regulation 139 and regulation 140. A person may also apply to the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority to have a assessed and included in the list of approved s (regulation 138). The application must include a detailed outline of the course of study, details of any supervised placements, the length of the course and the relevant fee (regulation 138). More information regarding applications for assessments of equivalence of s or an application to have a approved under the National Law is available at the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority website Who is an educator? An educator is an individual who provides education and care for children as part of an education and care service. Who is a staff member? A staff member, in relation to an education and care service, means any individual (other than the nominated supervisor or a volunteer) employed, appointed or engaged to work in or as part of an education and care service, whether as family day care co-ordinator, educator or otherwise. What does actively working towards mean? An educator is actively working towards a if they: are enrolled in an approved education and care ; and provide the approved provider of the education and care service with documentary evidence from the training organisation that they have commenced the course, are making satisfactory progress towards completion and are meeting the requirements for maintaining their enrolment (regulation 10). In the case of an approved diploma level education and care, the evidence must also demonstrate that the educator holds an approved certificate III level education and care ; or has completed the units of study in an approved certificate III level education and care determined by the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (regulation 10). 2 Transitional provisions apply- emergency asthma management training is not a requirement until 2013 (regulation 246) 3

4 Who is an early childhood teacher? An early childhood teacher means a person with an approved early childhood teaching. An approved early childhood teaching must be approved by the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority and included in the list of approved early childhood teaching s published on the website (regulation 137). What is a centre-based service? A centre-based service is an education and care service other than a family day care service. Where can I find more information? Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority Fact sheets Facts sheets for Victorian education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework can be found at the website The Regulatory Authority in Victoria The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Service Development Division can be contacted on or by at 4

5 Educator to child ratios The table outlines the educator to child ratio requirements being introduced. Age Educator to child ratio Qualifications Compliance Date At least 1 of every 3 required educators holds at least an approved diploma level Over 24 months but of age At least 1 of every 3 required educators must hold at least an approved diploma level At least 1 of every 2 required educators must hold at least an approved diploma level 2012 working towards) an approved diploma level towards) an approved certificate III level Over 24 months but towards) an approved certificate III level towards) an approved certificate III level or commence the within 6 months of commencing to educate and care for children. Over 24 months and of age children 3 From 2014 services with children preschool age or under must have access to or the attendance of an early childhood teacher as outlined in regulations

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