COAG to review NQF and Melbourne Declaration, but has no time for Universal Access

by Lyndsie Clark

December 17

The Council of Australian Governments Education Council has endorsed the Terms of Reference for a review of the National Quality Framework (NQF), and agreed to undertake a review of the Melbourne Declaration, however remains silent on funding for Universal Access to preschool – a move which has been met with confusion and dismay by many within the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.

 

A communique issued by the Education Council said that the review of the NQF will consider a number of issues impacting the ECEC  sector including recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as they relate to the NQF and services regulated under the NQF, and recommendations arising from Education Council’s Family Day Care program of work.

 

The Council said that the NQF review will aim “to ensure that the NQF is current, fit-for-purpose and implemented through best practice regulation”. National consultation for the review will begin early in 2019, and ministers will be regularly updated by officials at each stage of the review.

 

The last review of the NQF occurred in 2014.  

 

The Council also agreed to undertake a review of the national declaration of education goals for young Australians, otherwise known as the Melbourne Declaration, following calls earlier this month from education experts to review and change key areas of the declaration.

 

Agreed by Ministers from the Australian Government, states and territories in 2008, the Melbourne Declaration articulates nationally consistent future directions and aspirations for Australian schooling.  The declaration has a strong alignment with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), with the goals of the declaration being mirrored in the outcomes of the EYLF, and with an intention of improving equity and excellence for all Australian learners.


Ministers agreed that the review should consider the scope of the declaration encompassing lifelong education and agreed to hold a forum in February 2019 to commence the consultation process in collaboration with key stakeholder groups.

 

As forewarned last week by media sources and ECEC lobbyists alike, the Education Council communique omitted mention of funding for Universal Access to preschool, in a move that has been described as “shocking” and a “snub” to the ECEC sector.

 

A spokesperson for the Education Council told The Sector that, while they understood there were media reports detailing a leaked Council agenda, they were unable to comment on whether Universal Access had been included on the Council agenda or not.

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