Managing a 270-place service - how Jenny and Kate make time for everyone
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Managing a 270-place service – how Jenny and Kate make time for everyone

Managing a 270-place service – how Jenny and Kate make time for everyone

by Freya Lucas

November 28, 2022

Assistant Directors Jenny Collins and Kate Wilson manage a team of 40 to 50 staff members and 270 children at Coogee Care Centre, an outside school hours care (OSHC) service located on Bidjigal and Gadigal land in New South Wales. 


Recently the pair spoke with the New South Wales Department of Education about how the service has expanded since their leadership began in 2011, and the challenges they face in giving all team members access to the same information and in ensuring they feel equally valued. 


“As an OSHC service where a lot of our staff are university students, we have some people here for two hours a week, some here for 30,” Ms Wilson explained.


“It’s hard to give them all the same access to the same information and ensure they feel equally valued, so we have to be mindful of how we manage organising and communicating with a big team.”


Online platform Tanda supports communication across the team as well as scheduling and organisation, allowing educators to input their availability which helps the duo to create rosters which are flexible and meet educator needs. 


This is supported by Workplace, a platform which Ms Wilson describes as “like a Facebook page for work” where staff can chat about things and ask any questions they have.


“A lot of services may have something like a communication book up the front door, but in a team the size of ours we can’t have 30 people lining up to read it when they arrive, so we use an online platform,” she added. 


The combined challenges of a large staff team and high levels of turnover, which happen when University students graduate, can make managing continuity of staff (as outlined in Element 4.1.2) is one which the co-Directors are very aware of. 


“We try really hard to ensure there’s consistency for the children,” Ms Collins shared. In 2021, the pair introduced a new ‘cohorts’ model which gives the children familiarity and consistency of who they’re going to see each afternoon, which she says also helps with implementing procedures like behaviour management procedures and inclusion support procedures because the staff know the children better.


Thoughtful planning and organisation of educators (Element 4.1.1) allows the management team to harness the passion of their educators – in turn improving the experience for their children.


“During our vacation care program, we use Workplace to let our staff choose which days they’d like to run and they develop the whole day plan,” Ms Collins said.


This model allows staff to build on their own passions and interests, which then flows through to the children’s enjoyment. 


To learn more about Coogee Care Centre, please see here. To read this information in its original form, see here

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