OSHC for all NSW public schools: sector consultation beginning Term 2

OSHC for all NSW public schools: sector consultation beginning Term 2

by Jason Roberts

April 17, 2019

Consultation with principals and school communities will begin next month to deliver on the New South Wales’ Government’s pre-election pledge to ensure all children at public primary schools have access to outside school hours care (OSHC) by 2021.

 

State Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said consultation on the $120 million investment would begin in Term 2.

 

“We will work closely with our schools, parents and citizens associations, principals and parents – as well as the before and after school care sector – to develop flexible and creative solutions that offer parents support and choice, as well as ensuring schools have the equipment and resourcing they need to deliver these wonderful services,” Ms Mitchell said.

 

Schools in metropolitan and major regional centres will be required to open their playgrounds, halls or classrooms for OSHC and school holiday care from 7am to 6pm. At smaller or remote schools where an onsite service is not feasible, transport will be offered to get students to and from offsite providers or other schools.

 

“We need to use our wonderful school resources better. It is not acceptable that there are waiting lists for before and after school care, while our school grounds are under-utilised,” Ms Mitchell said.

 

A new specialist team in the NSW Department of Education is being created to co-ordinate services and manage leases to relieve this burden from principals.

 

The NSW Government will also reduce the cost of OSHC by up to $225 per child per year, through a capped rental subsidy of up to $15,000 for providers who run services on NSW Government school grounds.

 

The $120 million strategy, over four years, includes:

 

  • $50 million to help schools buy new equipment and expand their facilities;
  • $40 million to provide rental subsidies to service providers at public primary schools if they can demonstrate savings have been passed on to families; and,
  • $20 million to help schools where a standalone service may not be viable, including smaller schools and rural and remote communities.

 

There is also funding for a team of specialists to help co-ordinate services and resources to make it easier to set-up and maintain a service, and to take the hassle out of managing contracts with providers for principals; as well as funding to help parents and carers search for and access places online via the Service NSW website.

 

The NSW Government has said that parents will also be able to register their interest in a before or after school care service where they might not have one or theirs is full via Service NSW from 1 July.

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