ECA pays tribute to outgoing Chair Ros Cornish in 2018-19 Annual Report

ECA pays tribute to outgoing Chair Ros Cornish in 2018-19 Annual Report

by Jason Roberts

October 14, 2019

Early Childhood Australia have released their 2018-19 Annual Report in which both current National President Christine Legg and Chief Executive Officer Samantha Page pay tribute to Ros Cornish, who stepped down from her National President position and from the Board in late 2018. 


Ms Legg noted that “It has been a pleasure working with Ros; she has been tireless in her contribution to ECA across the national network and the Tasmania branch” , comments echoed by Ms Page. 


Ms Cornish will continue to be a key part of the ECA network through her position as Tasmanian Branch Secretary and as Chair of the National Conference Committee. 


In other Board change developments, Kate Ryan stepped down from the National Board after two terms, while both Marina Papic from NSW and Italia Parletta from SA will joined the 2019/2020 Board, with Ms Papic being the Board representative on the Reference Group for the National Statement on Play; and Ms Parletta lending support to the Early Learning: Everyone Benefits campaign. 


Ian Alchin was appointed Deputy National President. 


2018-19 a year of investment as ECA positions for future

From an operational perspective, significant time has been committed to the updating of key departmental processes and systems as the organisations seeks to design a network that can effectively support and engage its members at both a local and national level. 


Key initiatives noted include:


  • The launch of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for managing members acquisition, retention and interactions


  • The launch of an ECA app for members which will allow them to directly engage with ECA more easily 


  • New systems to improve invoice payment, reconciliation and payroll process efficiency 


  • Boosting organisational marketing capacity for planning, scheduling and analysing, to ensure members receive maximum value through communications


  • Resetting the customer service team, streamlining quality assurance processes and planning for a new ECA shopping experience


  • Introducing an online portal to manage Board documents and video technology to facilitate remote meetings. 


Professional learning teams gets a boost with AJEC partnership and Q2 academic rating

The professional learning team, led by Dr Kate Highfield, encompasses ECA Publishing and Studio, ECA Learning Hub and ECA Events and \received a boost this year as their Australasian Journal of Early Childhood will now be published by international publishing house SAGE Publishing and the journal saw its academic rating increase to Q2. 


Positive contributions made by the ECA Learning Hub in 2018-19 included an investment in sustaining and improving the overall learning experience for professional development consumers, as well as cost savings of $185,000 resulting from a departmental operating expense review. 


Special projects delivered in 2018/19 included the NSW OSHC Quality Development Program, the Claire Warden participatory planning packages and nature pedagogy and a comprehensive sleep and safe sleep practices package


From an events perspective, the professional learning team continued to deliver on their Munch and Move Conferences, Ethics in Action Workshops and their AJEC Research Symposium which this year saw 170 delegates attend the event. 


In addition, the larger format events, ECA Reconciliation Symposium and ECA National Conference continued, with the latter moving to a yearly program going forward. 


ECA Be You team comes of age as engagement across membership base tops targets 

The transition of KidsMatter Early Childhood to Be You Early Learning took place in 2018 with The Hon. Julia Gillard AC launching the new initiative that builds on five existing programs aimed at promoting social and emotional health and wellbeing for children and young people in the education space, and integrates them into one single, national initiative delivered through early learning services, primary and secondary schools.


ECA has been actively involved in delivering the new program to the early learning community via a collaboration with the Be You Action team leaders and their own ECA Be You teams. 


The past year saw ECA exceeding the contractual target by engaging 2,282 early learning services in the initiative and have seen 8,700 educators register and undertake the Be You Professional Development Learning modules. 


ECA is currently in negotiations to extend their delivery partner contract with Beyond Blue to 2021. 


Financial performance moves back to surplus as event sales and Be You funding arrive

From a financial perspective total revenues in the period rose 48 per cent and were boosted by additional revenue from the larger conference format in September 2018, and funding received from the Be You program. 


Total costs in the period were also higher as consultancy fees, event expenses, labour costs associated with the scaling of the ECA Be You team and other miscellaneous expenses were recorded. However, the overall costs rose at a slower rate than revenues, creating a return to surplus of $23,658 for the year, after losses recorded in the year prior.


To review the 2018-19 Annual Report in more detail please click here