Lorne the latest in a long line of towns to have ECEC struggles due to no staff

Lorne the latest in a long line of towns to have ECEC struggles due to no staff

by Freya Lucas

June 03, 2022

Lorne, a picturesque town on Victoria’s Surf Coast is the latest in a long line of communities struggling to attract and retain early childhood education and care (ECEC) staff, facing the prospect of having no ECEC service as a result. 


Lorne’s Community House is now down to one part-time educator who is restricted to looking after a maximum of four children. Despite the centre’s administrative target of opening three days per week being set earlier this year, the service is struggling due to the pandemic and an acute shortage of available staff.


Earlier this year coordinator Katy Kennedy warned the centre was at risk of closure with the two casual educators at the service overworked and burnt out due to the pandemic. The centre is now down to one casual employee after the other resigned citing exhaustion. 


As a result between 20 and 30 families in the town are no longer able to access care. The service has been advertising for staff since January. 


“We’ll take anyone, there just aren’t the qualified staff around here,” Ms Kennedy told local news source Surf Coast Times.


Nearby service Winchelsea Community House is in a similarly precarious position. Currently using casual staff to backfill vacancies, manager Wendy Greaves warns ongoing use of casuals is not a viable long term solution.


For the team at Anglesea things are slightly better with two full time educators engaged with the service. However the waiting list for care, especially for under three year olds, continues to grow, and there are limited options when the two permanent staff are ill. 


“You keep everything held together as best you can because there’s no other option,” Anglesea educator Bec Scoullar said candidly.


To access the original coverage of this story please see here