Education and Care Services Update

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1 Education and Care Services Update Issue 1 March 2012 Welcome to Issue 1 of the new Education and Care Services Update The introduction of the National Quality Framework on 1 January 2012 resulted in changes for the Victorian children s services sector. As part of implementation of the new arrangements, the Regulations Update newsletter is being replaced by two new newsletters. This is the first issue of the new Education and Care Services Update newsletter which has been designed specifically for education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework from 1 January It will provide information for all Victorian education and care services including family day care, long day care, and outside school hours care services and preschools (kindergartens). A separate newsletter the Victorian Children s Services Update newsletter will provide information for all services operating under the Victorian children s services legislation including all limited hours and short term licensed services, a small number of other services that currently hold a standard licence including budget-based services not funded for Child Care Benefit, occasional care, early childhood intervention, mobile services, and a small number of school holiday care services. Education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework must now comply with the requirements of: Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (the National Law) Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (the National Regulations) National Quality Standard. New! Changes to the Department s website The Department s website has changed to reflect the new arrangements. A new webpage Education and Care Services in Victoria (formerly Licensed Children s Services) has been developed and this is where information and resources will continue to be provided for all education and care services operating in Victoria. To assist services to locate information that is relevant to them, a new colour scheme has been established. Pages relevant only to Victorian Children s Services will feature an orange tile Pages relevant only to Education and Care Services will feature a purple tile Information that applies to all services, such as the Child Protection Protocol, protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, will feature both tiles. Services should familiarise themselves with the re-developed webpage as this is where Victorian-specific information and resources will be found. The new web address for the Education and Care Services in Victoria webpage is: ecsmanagement/educareservices. National information and resources that apply to education and care services in all states and territories are located on the website of the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA):

2 National Law and National Regulations All education and care services must have a copy of the National Law and the National Regulations accessible at their premises at all times. Electronic copies of the National Law and the National Regulations are available at the Department s website: Printed copies of the National Law and the National Regulations may be purchased from the Victorian Government Bookshop: in person at Level 20, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne; by telephoning ; or online at Printed copies of the National Regulations may also be purchased from Salmat Bookshop Services by telephoning Victorian children s services legislation Amendments to the Children s Services Act 1996 (the Act) and the Children s Services Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) took effect on 1 January The changes most relevant to education and care services are: Removal of education and care service from the scope of the Act and the Regulations, so that education and care services are no longer subject to the state regulatory system Provision for associated children s services, where a provider is operating one service under the National Quality Framework and one service under the Victorian children s services legislation at the same location. Further information is available in the fact sheet Moving into the new system: Associated Children s Services available at Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) ACECQA is the newly-established independent statutory authority which will monitor and promote the consistent application of the National Law, the National Regulations and the National Quality Standard across Australia. ACECQA will guide and support state and territory Regulatory Authorities to administer the National Quality Framework in each jurisdiction. National Quality Framework Resources Essential resources and information for education and care services in all states and territories can be found through the National Quality Framework tab on the ACECQA website: Forms for education and care services Application forms for education and care services are available at The application forms fall into three broad categories: 1. Provider approval forms for those who own or operate services and wish to apply to become an approved provider or amend existing provider status. 2. Service approval forms for approved providers who wish to apply to operate an education and care service. Nominated supervisor forms, waiver forms and other forms related to the operation of an education and care service can also be found here. 3. Supervisor certificate approval forms for those who wish to apply to become a certified supervisor or amend their certified supervisor status. Included in the forms under these three categories are forms for providing the required notification to the Department of certain circumstances and information, such as: a serious incident; a change in the management and control of an approved provider or responsible persons at the service; change of mailing address of certified supervisors or circumstances that affect their fitness and propriety such as the suspension of a working with children check. Notification forms and most applications must be lodged with the Department and postal details are printed on the forms. Many of the forms require a provider approval number and/or a service approval number. With transitional arrangements currently in place, the Department will accept forms with this section left blank. Assessment of equivalence of qualifications Under the National Quality Framework ACECQA is responsible for determining and publishing the qualifications required to be held by early childhood teachers, diploma level educators and certificate level educators. ACECQA is also responsible for providing assessments of qualifications for equivalence to approved qualifications. More information regarding applications for assessments of equivalence of qualifications or an application to have a qualification approved under the National Law is available at the ACECQA website:

3 Regulatory Authority in Victoria The Regulatory Authority in Victoria is the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. To facilitate the introduction of the National Quality Framework, the Department established the Quality Assessment and Regulation Divisions, with regional managers who report to central office. Some of the functions previously undertaken in the regions are now managed centrally, including all service, provider and certified supervisor approvals and waivers (formerly known as exemptions). Regional teams will continue to undertake compliance visits and will also be responsible for undertaking the assessment and rating visits when they commence in June Children s Services Advisers will now be known as Children s Services Authorised Officers. From exemptions to waivers Services with an exemption in place on 31 December 2011 are taken to comply with the equivalent requirements of the National Law until 31 March During this time the service must submit an application for a waiver to the Department if one is required beyond 31 March Applications must include information prescribed in the National Regulations and payment of the prescribed fee. Application forms and information about waivers are available from the ACECQA website: Further guidance on waivers will soon be provided by the Department in a fact sheet for Victorian education and care services that will be available at Issuing of approvals and certificates The Department will issue provider approvals, service approvals and supervisor certificates by 30 June Until receipt of their service approval, services should continue to display their existing licence certificate (including certificate of names) and most recent NCAC assessment (if applicable). Supervisor certificates Under the National Law and the National Regulations, applicants for a supervisor certificate do not need to be employed or engaged at an education and care service. Supervisor certificates are held by individuals and are transferable between approved education and care services. A list of certified supervisors will be published on the ACECQA website: Applying for supervisor certificates In Victoria, applications are assessed by the Department. Application forms are available on the ACECQA website: Providing supporting information When applying for a supervisor certificate please ensure that all of the details of supporting documentation (e.g. copies of Working with Children Check cards) are clear and easy to read. As the photocopy quality of the Working with Children Check Card is often difficult to read, you should record the card number for reference by the Department. Applicants for supervisor certificates need to demonstrate adequate knowledge and understanding of the provision of education and care to children and the ability to effectively supervise and manage an education and care service. For example, in order to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding an applicant for a supervisor certificate may provide a copy of a recent resume that outlines their experience and relevant professional development activities undertaken. Frequently asked questions Supervisor certificates I have been the primary nominee at my service. Do I have to do anything to obtain my supervisor certificate? If you were attached to a licensed children s service on 31 December 2011 as a primary nominee or approved nominee, you have transitioned into the National Law as a certified supervisor. How many certified supervisors do I need in my service? There is no prescribed number of certified supervisors. However, it is an offence under the National Law to operate an education and care service without a nominated supervisor. Whenever the nominated supervisor is absent from the service, a responsible person must be present at the service. The responsible person may be the approved provider, or a person with management or control of the service, or a certified supervisor.

4 When will supervisor certificates be issued? The Department has received a high volume of applications for supervisor certificates. The National Law allows the Department until 30 June 2012 to provide supervisor certificates. Is there any information that should be displayed in relation to certified supervisors? For centre-based services, the National Law and the National Regulations require the name and position of the responsible person in charge of the education and care service at any given time to be displayed so that it is clearly visible to anyone from the main entrance to the education and care premises. Who can be the certified supervisor of an education and care service primarily for children over preschool age (e.g. an OSHC service)? The National Regulations outline minimum requirement for qualifications, experience and management capability of certified supervisors. In an education and care service that primarily educates and cares for children over preschool age, an educator is not required to demonstrate the requirement for at least 3 years experience or hold an approved diploma level education and care or early childhood teaching qualification. In this case the supervisor certificate will be issued with a condition that the certified supervisor may only be placed in day-to-day charge of an education and care service that primarily educates and cares for children over preschool age. Assessment and rating process next steps Assessment and rating visits Assessment and rating visits to education and care services will commence in June This gives providers and services time to become familiar with the National Quality Standard, conduct a selfassessment and develop their Quality Improvement Plan (see below). Providers will start to be notified of their first assessment and rating visit from March Priority will be given to services that, prior to 1 January 2012, had not been accredited by the National Childcare Accreditation Council or were due for accreditation in All services will be scheduled for an assessment visit between mid-2012 and Further information about the assessment and rating process is available at: Quality improvement plan The first requirement of the assessment and rating process is for a provider to develop a Quality Improvement Plan. For existing services, which transitioned to the new system on 1 January 2012, a Quality Improvement Plan must be prepared by the approved provider on or before 30 April 2012 (regulation 238). From 30 April 2012 the Quality Improvement Plan must be available at the service and provided to the Department on request. For new services, the Quality Improvement Plan must be submitted to the Department within three months of the granting of the service approval (regulation 55). It is recommended that services adopt a collaborative approach to self-assessment and the development of their Quality Improvement Plan, involving wherever possible children, families, educators, staff members, management and other interested parties, such as representatives of a community agency that works with the service to support the inclusion of children with additional needs. Services are advised to familiarise themselves with the Quality Improvement Plan template and the Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan. The Guide was provided in the National Quality Framework Resource Kit sent to all services, and is also available on the ACECQA website: Resources The Department has created a range of new resources to provide information specific to Victorian education and care services. These include: Fact Sheets about the transition to the National Quality Framework with advice for Victorian services on moving into the new system for each service type, including family day care, long day care, and outside school hours care services and preschools (kindergartens). Frequently Asked Questions which provide responses to common questions services may have. These resources are available from: Services are advised to check on this website periodically for new resources.

5 Early Childhood Qualifications Fund The Early Childhood Qualifications Fund supports early childhood educators in Victoria working directly with children to upgrade or attain an early childhood qualification. The amount of support available depends on the qualification undertaken and ranges from up to $1,000 for a Certificate III in Children s Services, and up to $12,000 for an early childhood teaching degree. Successful applicants are required to enter into an agreement to successfully complete the qualification and, upon completion, work for a minimum period of time in a licensed children s service or approved education and care service. Educators working in all types of licensed or approved services including preschools (kindergartens), long day care, family day care and outside school hours care services may apply for support in attaining qualifications from Certificate III level through to postgraduate level. The second round of applications for 2012 will open on 5 March 2012 and close on 16 April More information is available at: Employment Incentives The Employment Incentives for Early Childhood Educators initiative provides a financial incentive to early childhood educators to take up employment in vacant hard-to-staff positions. Only services with a vacant position are eligible to apply. The focus of the scheme is on attracting qualified early childhood educators to positions that are hard to staff, including those in rural communities, aboriginal services and disadvantaged areas. Services employing early childhood teachers and Diploma-qualified educators, including long day care, preschools (kindergartens), occasional care, and outside school hours care, can apply. More information, including eligibility criteria, is available at Professional Support Coordinator for Victoria The Professional Support Program is an initiative of the Australian Government, which is funded to provide a responsive and nationally coordinated approach to supporting the professional developments needs of the child care sector. Under this Program, state and territory based Professional Support Coordinators are responsible for planning and delivering professional support to services approved for Child Care Benefit. The Professional Support Coordinator in Victoria is Community Child Care. Community Child Care offers training, support, resources, referrals and advice on all areas of operating an education and care service. Further information is available at Emergency management in children s services Emergency contact details Services should ensure they have provided the most up-to-date emergency contact details to the Department. Services may nominate up to 2 emergency contacts and include for each person: name of emergency contact person mobile phone landline address. Services may provide updated emergency contact details by to: Bushfire At-Risk Register 2012 The Bushfire At-Risk Register (BARR) for the bushfire season has been published. The Department has written to all education and care services and Victorian licensed children s services listed on the BARR. Inclusion on the BARR is a trigger for pre-emptive closure on declared Code Red days in the relevant Bureau of Meteorology area. All approved education and care services and licensed children s services should review the BARR and associated information published on the Department s website: emergencies/bushfires If you have questions or concerns regarding the inclusion of your service on the BARR please contact your Regional Office or

6 First aid, anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management training requirements A centre based education and care service under the National Quality Framework must have the following persons 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 qualification 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 (Transitional provisions apply - emergency asthma management training is not a requirement until 1 January 2013 (regulation 247)) Many services will choose to engage further staff members who have completed this training whenever education and care is being provided to children in an education and care service. Services may access first aid and anaphylaxis training from any TAFE or Registered Training Organisation with the relevant courses on their scope of registration. A person who on 1 January 2012 holds a first aid qualification, 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 ACECQA will be taken to hold an approved first aid qualification 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). Lists of nationally approved first aid, anaphylaxis management and emergency management training qualifications are available at the ACECQA website: Diabetes management Education and care services are responsible for management of medical conditions, including anaphylaxis, asthma, and diabetes. Information and resources to assist with diabetes management may be found on the Diabetes Australia (Victoria) website: A seminar on Diabetes in Early Childhood Services will be held on 27 March For enquiries and registrations: telephone ; or A registration form for the seminar can be found through the Events tab on the website. Royal Children s Hospital Safety Centre The Royal Children s Hospital Safety Centre aims to reduce child injury through a broad range of activities. Resources provided by the Safety Centre include: Fact sheets (16 in the series, in three separate sets according to the age of the child) Child Safety Handbook (a guide to injury prevention for 6-12 year olds) Posters Stay Safe Burns Prevention Newsletter All of these resources are available at the Safety Centre website: This newsletter is available on the Depatment s webpage: ecsmanagement/educareservices Further information Enquiries about the requirements of the Victorian children s services legislation, Education and Cares Services National Law and Regulations, or resources may be directed to the Department on or licensed.childrens. For information on publications please

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