Education Council communiqué silent on ECEC as it awaits multiple Review completions
At the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) latest Education Council meeting held on 13 September 2019 the final communiqué released after the meeting does not mention any specific discussions held or decisions made on the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
The COAG Education Council provides a forum through which strategic policy on school education, early childhood and higher education can be coordinated at the national level and through which information can be shared, and resources used collaboratively, to address issues of national significance.
The absence of comment is relatively unusual for an Education Council communiqué in recent times which has seen reference to a range of different ECEC focussed topics including but not limited to early learning review principles, review of National Quality Framework, ACECQA Board Appointments and Universal Access National Partnership over the course of the last 12 months.
That being said the Education Council is currently awaiting the outcomes of three different reviews on important ECEC topics and the associated reports to be delivered for consideration until which comment is likely to be withheld.
- Review of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority whose terms of reference was endorsed in December 2018 and is expected to be completed in the next for consideration by December 2019.
- Review of the National Quality Framework referenced in the December 2018 communiqué with terms of reference released in April 2019. The review is currently underway with the first phase: the consultation period now complete and the second phase: Government review of policy options underway with expectations of a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) to be completed by December 2019.
- Universal Access National Partnership Review referenced in the June 2019 communiqué which confirmed the endorsement of the terms of reference by Education Council. This review is currently underway with the Department of Education confirming consulting group NOUS as coordinators of the review and that submissions were now open with the expectation that an initial report will be submitted to Education Council by the end of 2019.
In addition, and as noted in the “Extension of Transitional provision under the National Quality Framework” section of the June communiqué, work currently underway to build a national approach for the ECEC workforce is expected to be presented to the Education Council in October 2019.
Looking ahead it is expected that these matters will be addressed and referenced in the communiqué in some way at the Education Council’s final meeting of 2019 to be held on 6 December.