Attendance records accurate? Advice and support for meeting Regulations 158 and 159
The New South Wales Department of Education, which also serves as the state’s regulatory authority, has issued advice designed to support services to meet Regulations 158 and 159.
“It’s important to keep an accurate record of attendance for each child attending your service each day,” the Department notes.
“This ensures each child at your service is accounted for and minimises the risk of children who are unaccounted for going undetected by educators at the service. It is also vital for contact tracing in the event of a COVID case in your service.”
Approved providers of an education and care service must ensure a record of attendance is kept for each child attending the service (regulation 158). Family day care (FDC) educators must ensure a record of attendance is kept for each child attending the FDC residence/venue (regulation 159).
A record of attendance must:
- record the full name of each child attending the service or the FDC residence/venue
- record the date and time each child arrives and departs
- be signed at the time the child arrives and departs by either the person who delivers the child or collects the child, or the nominated supervisor or an educator.
In the case of an FDC service, the attendance record must be signed at the time the child arrives and departs by either the person who delivers the child or collects the child, or if the signature of the person who delivers the child cannot reasonably be obtained, the FDC educator.
Children’s attendance records must be kept until the end of three years after the last date on which the child was educated and cared for by the service (regulation 183).
A preschool program provided by a school is not required to comply with this requirement if it keeps attendance records in accordance with NSW education law or NSW Government education department policy (regulation 158(2)).
Tips for keeping children’s attendance records
- Ensure consistency by using the same legend system to mark attendance (e.g. an ‘A’ for absent, an ‘X’ for present).
- Ensure records are kept in a safe, secure place to meet the record keeping requirements for children’s attendance record under regulation 177 (prescribed documents to be kept by approved provider), regulation 178 (prescribed documents to be kept by FDC educator), and regulation 183 (storage of records and other documents).
- Ensure that records remain accessible as they must be readily available for inspection by an authorised officer (section 175) and, in some cases, parents of enrolled children (regulations 177(3) and 178(3)).
- Ensure all staff/educators are trained and are aware of the processes and procedures around record-keeping.
- Ensure that personal and confidential information kept in a child’s record is not disclosed or communicated, directly or indirectly, to another person, unless there are circumstances in which confidential information may be disclosed (regulation 181, 182).
These circumstances include disclosing information to a parent of the child, to an authorised officer, and to the extent necessary for the education and care or medical treatment of the child.
To avoid accidentally sharing confidential information, services may consider:
- keeping records in a locked filing cabinet or locked room when not being used
- putting password protections on electronic data.
The Guide to the NQF outlines what Authorised Officers may observe, discuss and sight to assess a service’s compliance with record management requirements, such as:
- Observing the facilities for storage of confidential records and evidence that records are stored appropriately to protect confidentiality.
- Discussing the processes in place at the service for reviewing and updating records on a regular basis.
- Sighting the children’s attendance records are available and kept for the required length of time.
For further information please see here.