Latest Education Council meeting elects to again extend ECT workforce provisions
The COAG Education Council has released a communique detailing conclusions reached at its most recent meeting of Education Ministers held on 29 June 2019 in which it has confirmed that a set of transitional workforce provisions, originally included in the original National Quality Framework in 2012, have been extended for a second time.
The Council, which meets four times a year to discuss strategic policy for school and early education settings, is chaired by Dan Tehan, Federal Minister for Education, and is attended by all Australian state and territory Education ministers as well as New Zealand’s Minister for Education.
The provisions, introduced in 2012, were aimed at addressing the difficulty of securing early childhood teachers (ECT’s) particularly in rural and remote areas, and the disparity between jurisdictions with regards ECT related requirements and were first extended at the Education Council held on 15 September 2017 when they were extended for two years to January 2020.
The specific provisions regarding ECT’s that are expected to be extended are:
- Regulation 239A (WA, QLD, TAS, SA, NT and NSW) was due to expire 1 January 2020 – addresses attendance of an ECT at a service in remote and very remote areas
- Regulation 240 (WA, QLD, TAS, SA) was due to expire 1 January 2020 – addresses qualification requirements for ECTs in remote and very remote areas
- Regulation 242 (WA, QLD, TAS, SA, NT, NSW, ACT) was due to expire 1 January 2020 – relates to persons who are actively working towards an approved ECT qualification
Extension required due to ongoing pressure to secure ECT’s
The Council noted that their decision was deemed appropriate so as to address “continued pressure faced by the sector in building a highly skilled early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce, particularly in rural and remote areas.”
They also noted that this decision took into account the impact of the recently announced extension of ECT transitional measures by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) into 2020 which they endorse.
The communique fell short of committing to the creation of an action plan that promoted training and retaining ECT’s in ECEC settings despite a commitment earlier in the communique to a broader National Teacher Workforce Strategy focussing on primary and secondary settings.
Update on Melbourne Declaration review and Universal Access funding provided
The Council also provided some detail on the ongoing plans to update the Melbourne Declaration highlighting that following the form held on 22 February and the release of a discussion paper for public consultation over 140 submissions have been received.
Three further national consultation events have been scheduled including a workshop for young Australians to coincide with the next Education Council meeting in September 2019. Ministers expect to consider a final declaration at the December 2019 Education Council meeting.
With regards to the Universal Access National Partnership extension $449.5 million will be made available to states and territories to continue Commonwealth support for preschools throughout 2020.
The council also endorsed the terms of reference of the Universal Access National Partnership Review which is due to inform the Council’s consideration of funding arrangements for 2021.
Two new appointments to ACECQA board
The Council has confirmed two new appointees to the board of ACECQA with Professor Marc de Rosnay, the Academic Head of Early Start at the University of Wollongong appointed to his first term and Professor Joce Nuttall reappointed her second term.
Both appointments take effect from Monday 1 July 2019 and are of three years duration.
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