Open for Learning – Affinity Education Group shares COVID-19 journey, next steps

by Freya Lucas

May 21, 2020

Among the multiple pressures faced by the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in recent months, Affinity Education Group has worked hard to provide uninterrupted early education and care to families and children, with a spokesperson for the group saying “our people have been amazing, we are just so proud of them”.

 

The education team, headed by Dr Lesley Jones have launched the Lifelong Learning at Home programs which have supported families who are self isolating or experiencing quarantine.

 

Extensive Health and Hygiene measures have been introduced throughout the network over the past few months which were welcomed by employees and families. 

 

To prepare for a transition back to usual operations, in line with the Australian Government’s easing of quarantine restrictions, Affinity Education Group have shared their step down plan which will guide families through expectations and obligations in the coming months. 

 

CEO Tim Hickey credits the positive employee culture within the group, along with best practice systems and processes for the ease with which the provider has been able to adapt and respond to disruptions arising from COVID-19. 

 

The first priority for the group, he continued, has always been “to support our people, so they could continue to support families and children”.

 

At an operational level, the People, Quality, Education and Business teams “worked seamlessly” to clearly identify challenges, and quickly implement solutions, Mr Hickey said, adding that “our people have absolutely shone through this entire period, going above and beyond every day in our centres to support each other, the families and the children” making any necessary adjustments in order to continue operating. 

 

Affinity Education Group welcomed the announcement of the ECEC Relief Package last month “because we knew it was just in time for many families”, Mr Hickey said, adding that the package, in combination with the JobKeeper package, was “being utilised to its fullest” to support families and employees. 

 

The focus for the group in the coming months will be on “continued operational efficiencies”, enhanced training, and a focus on school readiness for those children transitioning out of the service to school in 2021. 

 

In the immediate term, families are being prepared for the transition back to CCS, anticipated to take place 28 June 2020, at which point families will be expected to pay fees directly to services, with CCS applied, Mr Hickey said. 

 

“We are confident that we’re emerging from COVID-19 as one of Australia’s leading providers of quality education and care,” he concluded. 

 

Affinity Education Group owns and operates the Lifelong Learning Centres community of out of school hours care and state-curriculum approved Kindergarten or Preschool programs, with 148 locations in Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

 

The image used for this story is from Affinity owned and operated Milestones Early Learning Kinross.

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