New advice on ratio and supervision
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > NSW Department shares advice on maintaining ratio and adequate supervision

NSW Department shares advice on maintaining ratio and adequate supervision

by Freya Lucas

April 05, 2024

The New South Wales Department of Education has released a refresher about maintaining educator ratio and ensuring adequate supervision. 


Educator-to-child ratios and adequate supervision must be maintained at all times in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. Ratio and supervision requirements work together in creating environments that focus on the needs, safety and wellbeing of children.


ECEC services have various obligations under the National Law and Regulations, and the combination of meeting educator ratio requirements and maintaining adequate supervision is critical to protecting children’s safety and supporting their learning and wellbeing.


Maintaining ratio


The National Quality Framework (NQF) outlines the requirements for approved providers and services relating to staffing arrangements. This includes minimum educator-to-child ratios and qualification requirements.


Section 169 of the National Law outlines the responsibilities of approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators with regards to ensuring services are operating in compliance with the NQF. 


Regulation 123 sets out the minimum number of educators required to educate and care for children in centre-based services, which varies for different age groups:


  • birth to 24 months – 1 educator to 4 children
  • 24 to 36 months – 1 educator to 5 children
  • 36 months to preschool age – 1 educator to 10 children
  • over preschool age – 1 educator to 15 children.


Services operating rooms with mixed age groups must ensure they are meeting the minimum numbers of educators required under the ratio, and it is important for services to understand the requirements for their state or territory specifically. 


Centre-based services can use ACECQA’s educator-to-child ratio calculator to understand the number of educators required at their service to meet minimum ratios.


In the Family Day Care space, the ratio is 1:7, with a maximum of four children preschool aged or younger. 


In order to be considered to be in ratio, educators must be working directly with the children in providing education and care. 


Educators who are on planned breaks cannot be counted in ratio. Maintaining a compliant mix of a variety of qualifications is also essential. 


50 per cent of educators who are involved in the education and care of children must have, or be actively working towards, an approved diploma-level education and care qualification or higher. 


All other educators must have or be actively working towards an approved certificate III level education and care qualification. Services must also engage or have access to an early childhood teacher (ECT) based on the number of children attending the service. 


Educators under the age of 18 years can be included as educators when counting ratios, however they must not work alone and must be adequately supervised at all times by an educator over the age of 18 years. 


While minimum educator-to-child ratios must be maintained at all times, approved providers and nominated supervisors are also responsible for determining staffing arrangements to ensure adequate supervision to protect children from harm and hazards.


For information, and more resources regarding ratio please see here


Adequate supervision


ACECQA defines adequate supervision as educators:


  • being able to respond immediately, especially when a child is distressed or in a hazardous situation
  • knowing where children are at all times and actively monitoring their activities.


Approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators must ensure that all children being educated and cared for by their service are adequately supervised at all times. 


Services must also be designed and maintained in a way that facilitates supervision of children at all times. This includes toilets and nappy changing facilities, and sleep and rest areas.


Services must ensure adequate supervision during sleep and rest. Best practice includes an educator being in sight and hearing of sleeping children at all times so they can assess breathing and the colour of children’s skin. Risk assessments, policies and procedures must consider the suitability of staffing arrangements to adequately supervise and monitor children during sleep and rest.


Adequate supervision must also be considered during the transportation of children. A risk assessment must include the number of educators that is appropriate to provide supervision, the process for entering and exiting and procedures for embarking and disembarking the means of transport including how each child is to be accounted for.


When determining adequate supervision services should consider:


  • the age, number and ability of the children
  • the number and positioning of educators
  • each child’s current activity
  • areas where children are playing, in particular the visibility and accessibility of these areas
  • positioning of furniture in the room, ensuring this does not create hidden spots or tight areas that restrict supervision or movement
  • risks in the environment and experiences provided to children
  • the educators knowledge of each child and age group of the children
  • the experience, knowledge and skill of each educator
  • implementing supervision maps, highlighting spaces where educators should be positioned in the environment to avoid areas being unsupervised.


For more resources and information about adequate supervision please see here.


Additional support


The NSW Department recommends the following resources to support services to grow their understanding of maintaining ratio and having adequate supervision: 



June 2023 ECE Connect sessions are also available to watch on these topics.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button