ACECQA reminds the sector about additional staffing requirement from 1 January 2020
ACECQA has issued a reminder to all early childhood education and care (ECEC) services today that from 1 January 2020, providers of long day care and preschool/kindergarten services will need to have a second early childhood teacher (ECT) in attendance when 60 or more children aged preschool age or under are being educated and cared for.
If an early childhood teacher cannot be secured ACECQA notes that alternatively a “suitably qualified person” is an appropriate substitute.
A “suitably qualified person” was defined in October 2018, by ACECQA when they determined the following qualifications are required:
- 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
- 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)
These qualifications are published on the ACECQA approved qualifications list. ECTs and suitably qualified people are encouraged to retain evidence of their primary or secondary teaching qualification, teacher registration/accreditation and ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification as evidence that they meet the requirements.
ACECQA asked services to note that the requirement for an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification is separate to the requirement for a primary or secondary teaching qualification (i.e. two separate qualifications are required)
In its deliberations, ACECQA carefully considered the context of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the early childhood education and care workforce, including the ongoing:
- aim of building a highly skilled workforce
- sector workforce pressures and challenges, particularly in rural and remote areas.
As part of its deliberations, ACECQA also agreed to monitor and review the implementation, administration and impact of this determination at the end of 2022.
The 1 January 2020 requirement is the final scheduled step up in staffing requirements for NQF approved services that were announced in 2010, and progressively introduced since 1 January 2012. Regulation 133(1)(b) and 134(1)(b) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations provide the full detail of the requirement.
ACECQA advised that a ‘suitably qualified person’ can be counted towards educator to child ratios when working directly with children, in the same way that an ECT can.
This change affects all state and territories, bar NSW, where additional ECT requirements are longstanding.
Further information is available on the ACECQA website