NSW QLE grants extended to include NFP long day care centres

by Freya Lucas

May 30, 2019

The Quality Learning Environments (QLE) grants program, which aims to support eligible early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to improve their learning environments to positively impact experiences and outcomes for preschool-aged children, has been extended to include not-for-profit (NFP) long day care centres.

 

Previously QLE grants were only available to not-for-profit community preschools, be they centre-based or mobile. The grants program has now been extended to allow NFP long day cares to apply for grants of up to $10,000 (ex GST). Grants can be used to purchase resources and activities which improve physical or educational learning environments.

 

Improvements to physical learning environments can include the completion of minor capital works and investment in infrastructure items. Improvements to the educational learning environment can include specialised educational programs and activities.

 

Applications must demonstrate a link between proposed resources and activities and the service’s Quality Improvement Plan. Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria, application requirements and spending rules as shown below.

 

Applications open from 14 May to 24 June 2019, through the Smarty Grants platform.

 

More information about the QLE program, including reporting requirements, timing, and additional information may be accessed here.

 

Eligibility criteria

 

To be eligible for funding through the 2019 QLE program, a service must meet the following criteria:

 

  • be an NFP community preschool (centre-based or mobile) or NFP long day care (as identified in the National Quality Agenda IT System* and including local government managed services) operating in NSW;
  • be an approved ECEC service under the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations or the Supplementary Provisions Act;
  • deliver an early childhood education program designed by a degree-qualified early childhood teacher in accordance with The Early Years Learning Framework under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education;
  • not be receiving Vacation Care, Occasional Care, Long Day Care, or Early Childhood Projects Grants Program funding (known as ‘legacy funding’);
  • be registered, or be willing to register, with The Department of Education (the department)’s Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS); and,
  • accept and comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Early Childhood Education Grants Program.

 

Services are only eligible to apply for QLE funding once per service approval.

*Or where sufficient evidence is provided upon request.

 

Assessment criteria

 

The department will assess applications against eligibility criteria, application requirements and spending rules.

 

Spending rules

 

Applications can be made for grants up to a total of $10,000 (ex GST) per service.

 

Eligible services can apply for funding under the following categories:

  • minor capital works
  • infrastructure items
  • specialised educational programs and activities (incursions and excursions).

 

Minor capital works relates to renovations and repairs to existing buildings or premises. Infrastructure items are large items that form part of the physical environment of the service. Examples of infrastructure items are mud kitchens, outdoor sports equipment such as climbing gyms, large furniture items or portable air conditioners (these are examples only). Specialised educational programs or activities should be incursions or excursions only.

 

Funding cannot be used for:

  • purchasing small resources such as books, toys or puzzles
  • professional development activities
  • general refurbishment solely for aesthetic reasons
  • landscape design or garden maintenance solely for aesthetic reasons
  • resources already funded by the department through another Early Childhood Education Directorate program, such as Start Strong Capital Works or Minor Capital Works as part of the Disability and Inclusion Program
  • IT equipment such as digital cameras, electronic white boards, video cameras, tablets, and computers
  • office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines
  • staff resources such as kitchen appliances and parking spaces
  • staff salaries and related staffing costs (i.e. annual leave)
  • upgrades to mobile preschool venues that are not owned by the provider

 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for resources and activities that can be fully funded through the QLE program. Where applications are submitted for resources or activities that exceed the available grant amount, applicants will be required to confirm that they will be able to fund the difference.

 

Approved funding must be spent by 30 June 2020. Applicants may be asked to return any unspent funding at this date. The department must be notified if exceptional circumstances mean that approved funding cannot be expended by 30 June 2020. Notification should include an explanation for why funding has not been expended and a timeline for spending the outstanding funds. Decisions regarding unspent funds will be made by the department on a case by case basis. Decisions will be confirmed by the department in writing.

 

Grant funding must be used to purchase the approved resources and activities only. The department must be notified if exceptional circumstances mean that this cannot be achieved. The decision to grant a variation to approved resources or activities will be made by the department on a case by case basis. Approvals will be confirmed by the department in writing.

 

More information about the QLE program, including reporting requirements, timing, and additional information may be accessed here.

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