OPERATING & BEST PRACTICE GUIDE

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1 Guide Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body OPERATING & BEST PRACTICE GUIDE FOR MEMBERS OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND CENTRAL GOVERNING BODY

2 ABOUT INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body is a body facilitated by Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ). ISQ is a non-profit organisation which serves, represents, supports and promotes the interests of Queensland independent schools. ISQ works closely with all political parties, government departments and the community, promoting the policies and interests of independent schools and the parents who support them. ISQ is represented on a range of external committees, boards and working parties. Each independent school is an autonomous and legally incorporated body. Because each of its Member Schools is an autonomous body, ISQ is not a system authority, but rather a service organisation, providing information and advice to schools on many issues. KEY CONTACT Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body PO Box 957 Spring Hill Q 4004 Rebecca McKinnon Project Officer (School Services) Tel: (07) Fax: (07) Website: Regular updates and changes will be posted on the Independent Schools Queensland website. i

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Key Definitions... 1 Privacy Statement... 2 Introduction... 3 Independent Schools Queensland CGB Membership... 4 Approval Requirements... 4 Approval Process... 4 Application... 4 Notification... 5 Service Agreement... 5 Review of Decisions... 5 Kindergarten Program Provider Approval... 6 Membership Subscription... 6 Change in Circumstances... 6 Membership Termination... 6 Funding Eligibility and Distribution... 7 Funding Eligibility... 7 Funding Calculation & Distribution... 7 Available Subsidies... 8 Standard Per Child Subsidy... 8 Remote ARIA Subsidy... 8 Low Socio-Economic Subsidy... 8 Health Care Subsidy... 9 Legacy Funded Kindergarten Services... 9 Service Provider Fee guidelines Repayment of Funds Data Collection and Reporting Reporting Requirements ii

4 Kindergarten Program Kindergarten Program Provider Eligibility Criteria Approved Kindergarten Program Kindergarten Program Enrolments Kindergarten Delayed Entry and Exit Enrolments Early Childhood Frameworks & Guidelines National Quality Framework & Regulations National Quality Standard NQF Assessment and Ratings Timeframes Early Years Learning Framework Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline Guidelines for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities Alternative Kindergarten Learning Guidelines Funding Acknowledgement iii

5 KEY DEFINITIONS Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is a key component of the national Quality Reform Agenda, approved by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and linked to the National Quality Standard. The Framework provides direction for educators to support and enhance children s learning and development and is focused on children from birth to five years, as well as their transition to school. Implementation of the Framework is supported by a guide for educators and a guide for parents. CGB means Central Governing Body. Financial assistance refers to the amount of funding paid or to be paid, by Independent Schools Queensland CGB, to a member service for the support of the delivery of an approved kindergarten program, including QKFS funding or other funding under $10,000. Kindergarten program refers to the education program planned and delivered by a four year qualified early childhood teacher or registered teacher with early childhood qualifications for children in the year prior to Prep (i.e. must turn 4 years old by 30 June in the year in which they participate in an approved kindergarten program). Kindergarten programs are to be provided for a minimum of 15 hours a week and at least 40 weeks of the year or in the case of non-state schools a minimum of 600 hours and 37 weeks over the course of the school year. Kindergarten Program Provider or KPP refers to Queensland Government approval of a service offering an approved kindergarten program. Member service refers to a kindergarten service provider approved as a member of Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body. Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme or QKFS refers to recurrent funding provided to support the delivery of kindergarten programs for children in the year prior to Prep (i.e. must turn 4 years old by 30 June in the year in which they participate in an approved kindergarten program). Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline refers to the guideline developed by the Queensland Studies Authority outlining the curriculum expectations, approaches to teaching and learning, as well as monitoring and assessment requirements applicable to approved and funded kindergarten programs implemented under the new State Government kindergarten funding scheme. The Office refers to the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care in Queensland. Page 1

6 PRIVACY STATEMENT This statement summarises the privacy policy of Independent Schools Queensland which covers Independent Schools Queensland CGB operations. A copy of the full policy can be obtained by contacting Independent Schools Queensland. Independent Schools Queensland is bound by the National Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act. Independent Schools Queensland collects personal and sensitive information from you for the primary purpose of collection which is to provide services to member schools. All information collected by Independent Schools Queensland is treated as confidential and is stored in a secure location. The information collected may be passed on to another Association, organization, government department; medical practitioner; and anyone you authorise Independent Schools Queensland to disclose information to. You may access personal information held about you by contacting Independent Schools Queensland's Executive Director in writing. Page 2

7 INTRODUCTION The Queensland Government is committed to providing universal access to quality kindergarten programs in the year before the Preparatory year of schooling, to meet the standards set by the Australian Government under the National Partnership for Early Childhood Education. The purpose of the Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme is to assist with the costs of operating an approved kindergarten program and to ensure that cost is not a barrier to access. In Queensland, kindergarten programs have typically been provided by the community sector or non-state schools. These kindergarten services provide high quality early childhood education and care to young children, and support families in understanding and valuing the importance of early education and its benefits to lifelong learning. Under the Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme, funding for kindergarten service providers, approved by the Department as Kindergarten Program Providers, will be made available through organisations approved for funding as a Central Governing Body. These organisations will be responsible for the distribution of Financial Assistance to the kindergarten service providers and supporting them to provide a quality kindergarten program. Funding is based on a subsidy model. Approved providers will receive a standard subsidy for each eligible-age child enrolled. That is, for children who are 4 years old by 30 June in the year they participate in an approved kindergarten program. Additional per child subsidies are available for services in areas of high educational need and disadvantage. Services approved as a Kindergarten Program Provider from January 2011, are funded under this scheme. For existing services that were in receipt of DECKAS funding until December 2010, transition arrangements are in place to provide support and guidance in moving towards the current requirements. Central Governing Bodies will provide a range of support services for associated kindergartens, including but not limited to, distribution of Financial Assistance to approved kindergarten service providers and ensuring government resources are directed to the eligible-age cohort. Independent Schools Queensland operates a central governing body for this purpose, known as Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body (ISQ CGB). Independent schools and parent management committees, can oversee the day-to-day operations of their kindergarten services, tailoring them to the needs of their local community. Page 3

8 INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND CGB MEMBERSHIP APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS To be approved as a member of Independent Schools Queensland CGB, where the kindergarten service provider is either: Owned and operated by an Independent Schools Queensland member school; or Where they are not owned and operated by an Independent Schools Queensland member school, the kindergarten service has a strong affiliation with and is recommended to the CGB by an Independent Schools Queensland member school; The service must: Provide a copy of their current Service Approval for an education and care service, under Section 48, Education and Care National Service Law Act 2010; Provide evidence of their Kindergarten Program Provider (KPP) approval 1 2 (as provided by the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care). Attest that the kindergarten service is NOT approved to receive Commonwealth Child Care Benefit (CCB) payments on behalf of families 3. Agree to subscribe to the requirements and conditions detailed in the Independent Schools Queensland CGB Policies and this Operating & Best Practice Guide by entering into a service agreement with Independent Schools Queensland CGB Independent Schools Queensland CGB Agreement. Kindergarten services that are affiliated with and have a recommendation from an ISQ member independent school must also: Provide a written recommendation from an ISQ member independent school. APPROVAL PROCESS APPLICATION Kindergarten service providers may complete an application form and return the application by mail or in PDF format by . On receipt of application, Independent Schools Queensland CGB will assess the application against the required criteria. 1 If a school/organization is responsible for more than one service, they must hold a Service Approval and meet Kindergarten Program Provider criteria for all services. 2 It is understood that kindergarten services may not already have Kindergarten Program Provider approval but be in the process of applying. This is acceptable in this initial stage for preliminary registration with Independent Schools Queensland CGB, however funding will not be determined until evidence of Kindergarten Program Provider approval is provided. Page 4

9 NOTIFICATION Independent Schools Queensland CGB will notify the kindergarten service provider, in writing, of the success of their application to become a member within 20 business days of application. It may be that ISQ CGB chooses to grant provisional approval while a KPP application is going through approval with the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care. If this is the case, ISQ CGB will expect evidence of KPP approval to be provided by the applicant before full membership will be granted. The kindergarten service provider will receive further notification of full approval. SERVICE AGREEMENT Service providers granted full membership of Independent Schools Queensland CGB will be required to enter into an agreement with Independent Schools Queensland CGB Independent Schools Queensland CGB Agreement. REVIEW OF DECISIONS If Independent Schools Queensland CGB receives an application for review of a decision in relation to an application to become a Member Service, the decision will be reviewed by an officer of Independent Schools Queensland CGB other than the officer who made the original decision. A decision will be made to either confirm the original decision or amend the original decision; and the member service will be advised of, and given the reasons for that decision within 10 business days of the application to review the decision. KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM PROVIDER APPROVAL Kindergarten services apply directly to the Office of Early Childhood Education & Care for Kindergarten Program Provider Approval. The Office will determine a service provider s eligibility for kindergarten program provider approval according to criteria listed in QKFS Guidelines for Central Governing Body Organisations and Member Kindergarten Services. Once kindergarten program provider approval has been granted, the Office will issue a Kindergarten Program Provider certificate. Service providers submitting applications to become a member of Independent Schools Queensland CGB must provide a copy of this certificate as part of their application. It is understood that in the initial stages of the introduction of this new funding scheme it may be that service providers are still in the process of applying for Kindergarten Program Provider approval. In acknowledgement of this situation, Independent Schools Queensland CGB will accept preliminary applications to become a member on the understanding that this approval process is underway. A copy of the Kindergarten Program Provider approval Certificate must be provided for funding to be determined. Page 5

10 ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE Approved members will subsequently be required to provide data as specified in the Data Collection and Reporting section of this Guide. The data provided will inform Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme funding levels and Independent Schools Queensland CGB subscription payments. MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION On approval of an application from a kindergarten service, Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body will require a membership fee for service. The subscription amount will be based on a per capita billing for full time equivalents (FTE) based on the current Independent Schools Queensland membership fee. This fee is reviewed at the Independent Schools Queensland AGM each year. Independent Schools Queensland CGB membership subscription fees are listed in Schedule 1: Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body Membership Subscription. CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES Members must notify Independent Schools Queensland CGB in writing ( is sufficient), within 10 working days of: matters likely to affect their Service Approval under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (refer QKFS Guidelines for Central Governing Body Organisations and Member Kindergarten Services.). any significant changes within the kindergarten service, such as a change of address, banking details, a change of principal office bearers, contact persons, key staff or changes to current or potential financial status that impact on financial viability and stability of the service. MEMBERSHIP TERMINATION A member of ISQCGB may terminate their membership by notifying the CGB in writing as per the Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body Membership Policy. Reasons for terminations may include: Changing service model to receive Child Care Benefit (CCB) on behalf of families; Closure of service; Change to another Central Governing Body. Services that terminate membership may be required to reimburse ISQ CGB, any overpayment of QKFS monies. Page 6

11 FUNDING ELIGIBILITY AND DISTRIBUTION FUNDING ELIGIBILITY To be eligible to receive funding a service must have met all the requirements for approval as a member of Independent Schools Queensland CGB.. In order to receive kindergarten program funding, services must: Provide a range of data on a biannual basis to inform funding levels (refer Data Collection and Reporting); Enter into an agreement with Independent Schools Queensland CGB; Attest that the Financial Assistance is used only for the purposes of the delivery of a kindergarten program to children within the eligible age cohort; Demonstrate that the service fee structure is not a barrier to access and comply with the Service Provider Fee Guidelines in this section; Attest that the Financial Assistance is used in accordance with sound financial and governance practices and be able to demonstrate that to Independent Schools Queensland CGB and the Department of Education and Training if requested to do so; Submit to Independent Schools Queensland CGB, annual audited financial statements relating to the receipt and expenditure of the Financial Assistance; and Subscribe to the requirements and conditions detailed in this Operating Guide. Continuation of kindergarten program funding is contingent on a Kindergarten Program Provider s ongoing compliance with funding eligibility criteria. If an approved kindergarten provider is responsible for the operation of more than one licensed kindergarten site, for each site that is successful in obtaining funding, the approved Kindergarten Program Provider will be required to comply with the requirements and conditions of the funding agreement. Additionally, the approved program provider will be responsible for ensuring that each site that successfully obtains funding adheres to the requirements outlined in this operating guide. FUNDING CALCULATION & DISTRIBUTION Funding will be provided directly to member services. Kindergarten program providers delivering a program for a minimum of 15 hours per week will receive the full subsidy allocation for each child enrolled for 40 weeks in a calendar year. Pro-rata amounts will be paid for children enrolled for less than 40 weeks and will be calculated on the number of weeks that a child is enrolled. The requirement for 15 hours per week, 40 weeks per year may be interpreted as a requirement for a minimum 600 program hours in total over a minimum of 37 weeks per year. Funding entitlement for kindergarten program providers will be calculated based on expected enrolments. Adjustments will be made once per year based on the reconciliation of the kindergarten program provider s expected and actual enrolments. To ensure payment, funded Kindergarten Program Providers are required to complete and submit bi-annual data collection forms to Independent Schools Queensland CGB. Page 7

12 Receipt of late claim forms could result in funding payments being delayed. AVAILABLE SUBSIDIES Funding will be calculated in accordance with the subsidies outlined below. For current subsidy rates refer Schedule 1: Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme Subsidies. For an estimated funding amount, go to the Office of Early Childhood Education and Care website Funding Calculator. STANDARD PER CHILD SUBSIDY This funding is paid on a per child basis for each child in the eligible age cohort (i.e. children who are at least 3½ years old as at 1 January, and must be 4 years old by 30 June in the year they participate in an approved kindergarten program). The standard subsidy referred to in this document is for kindergarten service providers not eligible for the Australian Government s Child Care Benefit (CCB). This subsidy is provided to assist with the operational cost of delivering an approved kindergarten program and ensuring that the cost of the program is not a barrier to access for families. REMOTE ARIA SUBSIDY This is a per child loading of 50 per cent of the standard subsidy for services in remote and very remote locations to help attract and retain qualified (using the ABS Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia {ARIA}). For more information on the ARIA measure, go to: (and search for ARIA). LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC SUBSIDY This is a per child loading of 25 per cent of the standard subsidy for services operating in low socio-ecomic areas to offset fees and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families (using the ABS Socio Economic Indexes for Areas {SEIFA}). For more information on the Index of Relative Socio Economic Disadvantage, go to: (and search for SEIFA index). Page 8

13 HEALTH CARE SUBSIDY This is a by-exception subsidy per child for Health Care Card holders attending services no matter where they are located, to ensure that cost is not a barrier to access. The subsidy will be paid for every Health Care Card (HCC) holder in these areas and will be provided directly to the service to offset net out-of-pocket fees for eligible parents/carers. Kindergarten services are eligible to receive the Health Care Card subsidy for each eligible-age child who has a parent/carer/guardian who holds a current Commonwealth Health Care Card. This subsidy is also available to Pensioner Concession Card holders with automatic Health Care Card entitlements. In circumstances where a child placed in out of home care is awaiting receipt of a HCC, a foster or kinship carer can provide details of their HCC in the interim to access this subsidy, until such time as the child s own card is issued and provided to the service. The Health Care Card Subsidy amount is adjusted to take account of the Low Socio-Economic Subsidy entitlement at each service. For examples, go to: Changes in Health Care Card eligibility within a funding period must be recorded by the kindergarten program provider and reported to Independent Schools Queensland CGB in the next data collection period. Health Care Card Subsidy Guidelines Funded Kindergarten Program Providers, in receipt of this subsidy, must: Not charge a higher kindergarten program fee (than the fee charged to other children enrolled in the kindergarten program) to families eligible for the Health Care Card (HCC) subsidy; Advise eligible families of the subsidy arrangement; Provide the annual cost per child and demonstrate the reduction of this fee by the subsidy amount for families eligible for the HCC subsidy (i.e. annual fee subsidy = lower annual kindergarten fee for HCC holders); Reduce fees as per billing cycle and the HCC subsidy amount needs to be individually recorded on the parent s/carer s bill; Include, in the comprehensive fee policy, a written statement defining how the HCC subsidy is applied; Provide eligible families with access to at least 600 hours per year; Provide equitable access to the kindergarten program for families eligible for the HCC subsidy; Provide inclusive programs and avoid stigmatisation of families eligible for the HCC subsidy; and Sight/photocopy the relevant HCC card and record the card number and expiry date which are to be kept on an up-to-date file in a secure place and available for audit if required. LEGACY FUNDED KINDERGARTEN SERVICES To help existing services in receipt of DECKAS funding in 2010 adjust to the requirements of the new funding scheme, transition arrangements have been put in place. Transition Arrangements for Existing DECKAS-Funded Kindergarten Services or the Fact Sheet, Kindergarten Reforms and What They Mean for Existing Services provide a guide to these arrangements. Page 9

14 Services that meet these recommended actions can access any increased funding they are eligible for under the new Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme. Many community kindergarten services will be eligible for more funding under the new scheme, and no service will receive less funding. The Government has committed that a base level of funding will be provided at no less than the level received by services at the end of The Queensland Government has guaranteed that the minimum level of funding assistance for existing DECKAS-funded services in 2011 and beyond will be based on the salary levels of current teaching staff in December Annual indexation will continue to apply until January From then, funding will continue at that level until the service is eligible for an increased level of funding under the new funding scheme. SERVICE PROVIDER FEE GUIDELINES Parent fees for participating in a kindergarten program should not be a barrier to access as: The standard rate per child funding is provided to assist with the costs of delivering an approved kindergarten program. Additional funding is provided to eligible services to reduce fees for low income families and to assist with the costs of attracting and retaining teachers in remote areas. Member services in receipt of kindergarten program funding will: Demonstrate the fee structure is not a barrier to access. For example: fees take account of socioeconomic circumstances of families in the community and are then published to explain components of the fee structure; Document and communicate to families a comprehensive written fees policy. This should include a written statement about the fees to be charged, what is included in the fees and the payment process; Make information about fees easily accessible to families seeking enrolment; Notify parents and carers in advance of any changes to fee structures; and Display their kindergarten program fee information (including fee structure and program inclusions) at the centre and publish it online (including on the service s website if the service has an existing website). A Template Funded Kindergarten Program Statement of Fees form for Kindergarten services can be found at: REPAYMENT OF FUNDS If, at any time, Independent Schools Queensland CGB becomes aware that a member service has used, spent or committed Financial Assistance received from Independent Schools Queensland CGB, other than in accordance with the Kindergarten Program Provider Guidelines; or a member service has received Financial Assistance to which it is not, in whole or in part, entitled, and not informed Independent Schools Queensland CGB of this situation then Independent Schools Queensland CGB may, by written notice, require the member service to repay that part of the Funds within a specified time of notice and Independent Schools Queensland CGB is not obliged to pay any further funds to the member service. Page 10

15 DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING Approved and funded kindergarten program providers are required to provide a range of data to Independent Schools Queensland CGB to allow monitoring of early childhood development outcomes, as well as determine funding entitlements. The data collected will be used to calculate funding entitlements for six (6) monthly periods. The data will be used to measure and report against progress in achieving universal access to quality early childhood education as required through the Queensland Government s early childhood commitments and the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education. To enable funding calculation and ongoing performance monitoring, data will be collected on child enrolment and attendance, demographic characteristics of children, kindergarten program delivery and staffing within the centre. Kindergarten service providers are responsible for: Reporting to Independent Schools Queensland CGB on the financial accountabilities and service specific requirements as per their respective funding agreements; The accuracy of the data provided to the Independent Schools Queensland CGB for the calculation of funding entitlements; and Providing data directly to the Office of Early Childhood education and Care in the annual ECEC Services Census. Failure to provide complete, accurate and timely data will delay provision of funding within the payment period. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS To enable the Independent Schools Queensland CGB to provide the Office of Early Childhood Education and Care data to determine funding, member services are required to provide a range of information, these may include: Enrolment and attendance o The number of eligible children enrolled in the approved kindergarten program; o The hours of attendance in the approved kindergarten program, i.e. hours per day and hours per week that a child attends the program; o The number of hours and days per week and weeks per year that the kindergarten program is available; and o The number of children attending as delayed entry or delayed exit enrolment. Demographic characteristics The demographic characteristics of each child enrolled in an approved kindergarten program, including: o Date of birth; Page 11

16 o o o o o o Postcode of primary residence; Gender; Indigenous status; Language background other than English; Health Care Card status; and Diagnosed disability. Staffing o o o o o The number of staff who are registered teachers with early childhood qualifications or four year qualified early childhood teachers; The number of staff who identify as Indigenous; The number of staff who have a language background other than English; Professional development provided for teachers and assistants delivering the kindergarten program; and Qualifications of the teachers. Eligibility for additional subsidies o The number of children who have a parent/carer/guardian who hold a current Commonwealth Health Care Card. Fees o The fee structure Page 12

17 KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM PROVIDER ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA Kindergarten services apply directly to the Office of Early Childhood Education & Care for Kindergarten Program Provider Approval. The Office will determine a service provider s eligibility for kindergarten program provider approval according to criteria listed in Guideline 1 of Operating Guidelines for Kindergarten Services Delivering an Approved Kindergarten Program ( APPROVED KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM Member kindergarten services must comply with the requirements of an approved kindergarten program as outlined in Guideline 2 of Operating Guidelines for Kindergarten Services Delivering an Approved Kindergarten Program. KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM ENROLMENTS Independent Schools Queensland CGB member kindergarten services must implement a clearly articulated enrolment policy advising how waiting lists are managed and enrolments are prioritised. The enrolment policy should also define the eligible age cohort for each year of enrolment (e.g. a child born 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007 would be eligible for kindergarten in January 2011). They will also implement strategies to maximise enrolments of children, including children in priority groups who may have additional needs or require additional support for increased participation within the eligible-age cohort. A Template enrolment form can be provided on request. Funding is only provided for the eligible cohort of children who are at least 4 years old by 30 June in the year they participate in an approved kindergarten program, for a minimum of 600 program hours per year. Children younger than the eligible age cohort may participate in the kindergarten program but Government funding is not provided for these children. Kindergarten services that have been built with Queensland Government funding must maximize enrolments of the eligible age cohort. Places can only be offered to children of the younger age cohort when all avenues to maximize enrolments of the eligible age have been explored. Complete Kindergarten Enrolment requirements are outlined in Guideline 3 of Operating Guidelines for Kindergarten Services Delivering an Approved Kindergarten Program. The Delayed Entry and Exit Enrolment Procedure for Approved Queensland Kindergarten Programs provides guidance for member services in relation to the application, assessment and approval of delayed entry and exit enrolments for children in approved kindergarten programs. This procedure is covered below. Page 13

18 DELAYED ENTRY AND EXIT ENROLMENTS The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care, as part of the Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme (QKFS) requires funded kindergartens to apply appropriate assessment and approval processes for a kindergarten child enrolling in an approved program as either a delayed entry or delayed exit enrolment. It is recognised that some children may benefit from starting a kindergarten program at a later age or completing a second year of kindergarten. Delayed entry is a kindergarten enrolment option for children older than kindergarten age (four by 30 June in the year they participate in a kindergarten program) whereby it is considered that educational and developmental benefits would be gained by delaying enrolment in kindergarten. Delayed exit is a kindergarten enrolment option for children whereby it is considered that educational and developmental benefits would be gained from enrolment in a second year of a kindergarten program. In order for a child to be eligible to attract the standard QKFS subsidy and any additional subsidies, Central Governing Body members should use the Independent Schools Queensland Central Governing Body Delayed Entry/Exit Enrolment Policy to guide the application, assessment and approval of delayed entry and exit enrolments for children in an approved kindergarten program. The Delayed Entry to Kindergarten Program Application Form and Delayed Exit from Kindergarten Application Form have been developed as template forms for services to use as supplied or adapt for their service. If services are currently using forms that cover the requirements then they are able to continue to use these. Assessment and approval of applications, and application forms are to remain at the service level, with designated offers to be responsible for these decisions. Central Governing Body members should submit the Designated Officers form to ISQ Central Governing Body, regardless of which application forms they may be using. Kindergarten services will need to determine, in conjunction with the service s enrolment procedures, when applications for delayed entry to and delayed exit from the kindergarten program will be required to be submitted and advise parents accordingly, provide information about delayed entry and exit application processes to parents on request, advise parents of the application process, providing them with access to application forms, information on supporting documentation (if appropriate), implications for Prep enrolment, and the programming and support services available to their child in the kindergarten. Page 14

19 EARLY CHILDHOOD FRAMEWORKS & GUIDELINES NATIONAL QUALITY FRAMEWORK & REGULATIONS Operating and Best Practice Guide From the 1 January 2012, a new National Quality Framework (NQF) will be introduced for early childhood education and care services. The NQF was jointly developed by the Australian Government and state and territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The National Quality Framework will be underpinned by the National Law and National Regulations. Together they will set new National Quality Standards for kindergarten (or pre prep), long day care, family day care and out of school hours care. The National Quality Framework includes: a national legislative framework that consists of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 and Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 a National Quality Standard an assessment and rating system a Regulatory Authority in each State and Territory who will have primary responsibility for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their jurisdiction in accordance with the national legislative framework and in relation to the National Quality Standard. the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). ACECQA, the new national body is responsible for providing oversight of the new system and ensuring consistency of approach. Copies of the Education and Care Services National Regulations, National Quality Standard, Information Sheets, and FAQs can be found at: NATIONAL QUALITY STANDARD The new National Quality Standard, which will come into effect from 1 January 2012, and the new quality assessment and rating system is designed to help services to provide the best possible level of early childhood education and care. The new National Quality Standard (NQS) is divided into seven areas that contribute to the quality of early childhood education and care. These areas have been identified by research and are: 1. Educational program and practice 2. Children s health and safety 3. Physical environment Page 15

20 4. Staffing arrangements (including the number of staff looking after children) 5. Relationships with children 6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities 7. Leadership and service management The NQS will improve quality through: improved staff to child ratios to ensure each child gets more individual care and attention new staff qualification requirements to ensure staff have the skills to help children learn and develop a new quality rating system to ensure Australian families have access to transparent information relating to the quality of early childhood education and care services the establishment of a new National Body, The Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority, to ensure early childhood education and care is of a high quality. A key component of the NQS is the Early Years Learning Framework. Services will be rated against this learning framework as part of the national rating system. NQF ASSESSMENT AND RATINGS TIMEFRAMES The Australian Government has released information regarding the assessment and rating process (see attached Fact Sheet) for the National Quality Framework (NQF), providing services with some more clarity on the process and timing for The first requirement of the assessment and rating process is the preparation of a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) which should be informed by self-assessment and identifies the service's strengths and areas for improvement. All governments recognise that this will be a busy time for services as they engage with the new National Law and Regulations and therefore existing services transitioning into the system will have at least four months from 1 January 2012 to submit their QIP to the Regulatory Authority. During this time no assessment visits will occur. The first assessment visits to services are expected to commence in June 2012 and services will be given forward notice of their upcoming assessment. It is anticipated that those services scheduled for assessment in June 2012 will be contacted by the Department in April. Support will be provided to services to help them prepare for the assessment and rating process. Priority may be given to education and care services that are currently covered by the National Childcare Accreditation Council but are not yet accredited or were due for accreditation in It is anticipated that a range of fact sheets and FAQs will be available for the launch of the National Regulations providing more detail on what services can expect, and will need to do, in preparation for 1 January Page 16

21 EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Australian Government has provided copies of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and Families Guide to early childhood services across Australia. The EYLF has a strong emphasis on play-based learning as this is the best vehicle for young children s learning and the most appropriate stimulus for brain development. The framework also recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. The EYLF focuses on five learning outcomes: children have a strong sense of identity children are connected with and contribute to their world children have a strong sense of wellbeing children are confident and involved learners children are effective communicators. It is expected that, following a period of familiarisation, each early childhood service will develop their own strategy to implement the Framework, taking their own unique context into consideration. The use of the EYLF will be mandated from 1 January 2012, however, it is expected that many services are already implementing the EYLF. Services that have begun to implement the framework will be better placed to meet the new National Quality Standard. The Educators Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework has recently been released and is designed to be used by educators in interactive ways to assist in understanding the concepts embedded in the EYLF. Hard copies of the Educators Guide Educators Belonging, Being & Becoming, along with a CD of resources, were delivered to early childhood services in February Copies of the Educators Guide, the Early Years Learning Framework and the Families Guide, are available for download at: key documents THE EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK PROFESSIONAL LEARNING PROGRAM (EYLF PLP) The Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program (EYLF PLP), developed for the Australian Government by Early Childhood Australia, is a national initiative that provides ongoing professional support to services as they engage in the EYLF implementation process. The EYLF PLP has the following separate but interrelated elements: a national program of 65 EYLF workshops an online EYLF interactive Forum available to early education and care settings and educators an online EYLF e-newsletter EYLF online e-learning Videos focused on aspects of the EYLF a series of short EYLF professional learning vignettes. Page 17

22 For further information on this professional learning program, go to: QUEENSLAND KINDERGARTEN LEARNING GUIDELINE The Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline is based on the Early Years Learning Framework and provides advice for kindergarten teachers to assist their planning, interacting with children, monitoring and assessing, and reporting in Queensland Government approved kindergarten programs. To be eligible to be approved as a Kindergarten Program Provider in Queensland and receive funding under QKFS, it is a requirement that services implement either the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline or another learning guideline or framework accredited by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). A series of five online professional development modules are now available free-of-charge on the QSA website. These modules are designed to assist kindergarten teachers and other interested early childhood educators and service providers to build understandings and skills for delivering quality kindergarten programs based on the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline. Go to: The online modules unpack the key elements of the kindergarten guideline and assist educators to explore ways of implementing them in their services. Each module follows a set format comprising five components: Overview Provides a summary of the module and identifies links to the National Quality Framework and Professional Standards for Queensland Teachers Explore What advice does the guideline provide? Make links to current practice Examine Additional information or framework for examining theory, thinking and/or practice Engage A task that involves using the ideas reflecting, thinking and/or sharing Extend Links to professional readings, resources and/or websites Further professional development focused on the kindergarten guideline will be available throughout 2011, including face-to-face workshops in the second half of Approved kindergarten program providers will be sent a copy of the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline. Until that time the kindergarten guideline and online professional development materials can be accessed from the QSA website at: GUIDELINES FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMUNITIES Foundations for Success, a guideline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, seeks to support educators in a range of settings including schools and early childhood centres in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to work with the child, their families and communities to create an early learning program that reflects their local cultures and experiences. This framework is focused on programs for children in the year before Prep and is currently being implemented in pre-prep programs in Indigenous communities. It strongly aligns with, and will support the implementation of, the EYLF. Page 18

23 ALTERNATIVE KINDERGARTEN LEARNING GUIDELINES To be eligible to be approved as a Kindergarten Program Provider in Queensland and receive funding under QKFS, it is a requirement that services implement either the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline or another learning guideline or framework accredited by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). For information on having an alternative kindergarten learning framework or curriculum guideline accredited by the Queensland Studies Authority, visit: Page 19

24 FUNDING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Funding received from the Queensland Government must be acknowledged. Acknowledgement is required as a condition of Independent Schools Queensland CGB Funding Agreement. The following guidelines have been developed by The Department of Education and Training to assist in acknowledging the Queensland Government. Acknowledgement Statement For kindergarten services the following statement should be used: (Name of the kindergarten service) is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government. The statement can be included in materials such as: annual reports; newsletters; advertising; and websites. The identifier below has been introduced to help parents recognise kindergarten programs that have been approved by the Queensland Government. This identifier will be provided to services on approval as a Kindergarten Program Provider. Approved kindergarten program providers have access to a range of materials to promote their service and encourage enrolments. For examples of these materials, go to: Producing Signage The Queensland Government and Toward Q2 logo should both appear on signage (permanent and temporary) to acknowledge funding. The signage should: Use the Queensland Government and Toward Q2 logos that are at least of equal size and weighting to other logos that appear on the signage Where possible, use the acknowledgement statement (Name of the kindergarten service) is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government ; Be of a size that is at least 900mm high x 1800mm wide, or in proportion to the available space. Please contact Corporate Communication and Marketing within Department of Education and Training on (07) to request copies of these logos and associated guidelines for their use, and to confirm approval for the final sign design. Page 20

25 SCHEDULES Schedule 1 - Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme Subsidies Subsidy Description Annual Funding (Full year effect) Standard per Child Subsidy This subsidy is provided to assist with the operational cost of delivering an approved kindergarten program and ensuring that the cost of the program is not a barrier to access for families. The standard subsidy is subject to annual indexation. $2, per child per annum excluding GST Remote ARIA Subsidy This is a per child loading of 50% of the standard per child subsidy to support services to attract and retain qualified teachers in areas classified as remote and very remote (using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA)) $ per child per annum Low Socio-economic Subsidy This is a per child loading of 25% of the standard subsidy for services operating in locations within the bottom 20% of Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) (using the ABS Socio Economic Indexes for Areas {SEIFA} 1 and 2) i.e. services located in SEIFA areas 1 and 2. $ per child per annum Health Care Card Subsidy This is a by-exception subsidy per child for Health Care Card holders no matter where they are located, to ensure that cost is not a barrier to access. The subsidy will be provided directly to the service to offset net out-of-pocket costs for eligible parents/ carers. Up to $2,600 per eligible child per annum The Health Care Card Subsidy amount is adjusted to take account of the Low Socio-Economic Subsidy entitlement at each service. For examples, go to: Page 21

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